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LOVE ME, LOVE ME, LOVE ME, I’M A LIBERAL: Trudeau Gropes With Hypocrisy

Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing wonder and awe — the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me. — Immanuel Kant

Sure, once I was young and impulsive; I wore every conceivable pin,
Even went to Socialist meetings, learned all the old Union hymns.
Ah, but I’ve grown older and wiser, and that’s why I’m turning you in.
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal. — Phil Ochs

Frank A. Pelaschuk

He ran full of boastful swagger and showy humility declaring his would be a different and better government, not only cleaner and with set of self-imposed ethical mandates but also truly representative with a gender-balanced cabinet with women playing significant roles. He was a feminist, you see, and wasn’t shy of reminding us — endlessly. As well, without any great public demand for it, with smug self-congratulatory defiant fanfare, he declared 2015 would be the last ever first-past-the-post Canadian election. Sounded good and the public voted; the pure of heart defeated the forces of darkness. Goodby Stephen Harper, hello Justin Trudeau.
The rodomontade promises were excessive, magnified hope and the big-rock-candy-mountain future; in his own words, “sunny ways, sunny ways” were here again, Trudeaumania revived, more potent than ever: peace and love reigned over the world. Well, Canada at the least, Trudeau’s no Trump. But fairy tales are for kids; even so, too many adults wanted to believe, buying in and still do; “give him a chance, give him a chance” say those to the doubters and critics. For some, however, the shock of recognition and disappointment quickly hit, hitting hard, the hopeful wavering, faltering, struck numb: They’re all the same after all, aren’t they.
Trudeau was no naïf nor his crew inexperienced. He knew exactly what he was doing. Most didn’t care but a few did and do. The scales began to fall from the eyes and hands began to wave away the cobwebs. The portrait of the handsome saviour prince and crew slowly emerges, a little clearer and more realistic, of consummate schemers, wheelers and dealers oozing, simply oozing charm, smarm, buzz words tripping off the tongues and attitudes and promises deployed as skilfully as any con baiting traps for lonely, befuddled, gullible prey; when challenged concerns are blissfully brushed aside…”it’s legal”, “we didn’t know the full picture”, deceptions, broken promises, the failures of ethics and stricken expressions of betrayed believers ignored.
Within months if not weeks, there was news, “sticky fingers”, and Trudeau instructing cabinet ministers to repay expense claims to which they were not entitled and defending those routinely breaking conflict of interest guidelines again and again, the justice minister once ludicrously justifying a fundraiser paid for by lawyers with the claim she had attended the event as a member of the Liberal party and not as the Justice Minister! Oh, it may be risible were it not so predictable and offensive; Trudeau, the handsome prince, was to be the exemplar but, as often happens in fairy tales, the prince is not always what he seems, the toad part of him increasingly exposed with each question tossed his way and denial hurled back.
There are always those who believe they are entitled to a free pass and those who always get it. Trudeau is apparently one such. Unfortunately, far too many are willing to play along.
Why?
Time and time again he and his gang broke his own loudly ballyhooed ethical mandates. Apparently no one noticed or cared: a flash of smile, furrowed brows, fingers tapping over the heart, and eyes oozing, simply ooze sincerity is all it takes for Trudeau and others like him, those guileful manipulators who know how to work the mob of innocents and/or fools. And Trudeau does. Still, with Trudeau, the “mistakes” occur far too often; one would think that even the half awoke would ask themselves, “Should we trust a man that careless and, if so, how much?”
Well, not much.
If he was to be the shining beacon, he demonstrated that not all pretty packages are that pretty though far too many still refuse to see beyond surface. While I was never convinced by him, I was, if sceptical, still willing to give him a chance. Many of us were. However, his easy dismissal of real concerns regarding conflicts of interest by the newly appointed justice minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould, his own attitude regarding secret fundraising events and his undermining of electoral reform were more than sufficient evidence his promise of “sunny ways” had been a hoax. I find it incomprehensible so many refuse to see him as the charlatan and phony he is. What do they see that I don’t?
When he was forced to rejig the committee looking into recommendations for electoral reform after being called out for stacking it with liberals, we saw clear signs of the machinator at work. Then, several weeks into its mandate, with the committee revealing early signs of a likely endorsement for proportional representation, Trudeau began to pointedly muse that the public was no longer interested in electoral reform. It wasn’t true, of course. What was true was that he was setting the stage without having yet informing the public of his preferred option: the ranked ballot system. Eventually, Trudeau’s preference became public. When it became clear that the committee would deny him what he sought, a voting system that would ensure that only two parties would govern until Canada ceased to be, the public began to stir suddenly aware that what they had long wanted and sought, fair elections, was chimera, a pipe dream. Not all options were on the table and PR was definitely not a possibility for consideration by the liberals. In Parliament, following the reform committee’s recommendation, minister of democratic institutions Maryam Monsef publicly berated the committee in Parliament for “not doing” its job, i.e., giving Trudeau what he wanted. The furor was instant, loud and public, Canadians furious by the shoddy treatment handed the committee. Seeking to repair the damage, the liberals set up a phone-in poll to look into electoral reform. That, too, as with Trudeau’s first attempt to stack the committee, had been designed to lead to a specific desired outcome. So obvious and outlandish was the move orchestrated by the PMO, public rage and the minister’s incompetence led to her removal. It was left to Karina Gould, Monsef’s replacement, to drive the stake through the heart of electoral reform.
While this had been from day one Trudeau’s baby, he had neither the stomach nor the decency to do the dirty deed himself. As a result, this self-declared feminist had left it to two neophyte female MPs to not only discredit the work of the committee but the project itself. Monsef and Gould would be associated with the failure of the reform he had set in motion and then worked to undermine. What a man!
Later, battered from the fallout of free gifts, secret fundraisers, conflicts of interest, and electoral reform, he set about to refurbish his image with town hall meetings across the country. He swaggered before the crowd loudly and defiantly boasting of not regretting walking away from electoral reform (and those countless others whose hopes he had destroyed). Shame? Not a whit. His brainless supporters lapped it up. None of them saw that smiling, smiling toad prince facing them with thumb to nose and fingers waving: SUCKERS!
So, does Trudeau believe in anything? Probably only in the things that serve him and his interests. He easy bromides appear to comfort those seeking comfort. This is a man who cares. Until he doesn’t. He believes human rights is a priority unless it conflicts with Canadian business interests as he demonstrated by signing off on Harper’s Light-Armoured Vehicle deal with human rights abuser Saudi Arabia; he believes conflicts-of-interest are major issues except when he or members of his party routinely engage in the practice. The Aga Khan Foundation still receives millions from Canada while Trudeau receives a lukewarm warning from the ethics commissioner for breaking the rules and a minor fine for accepting a pair of expensive sunglasses. Trudeau receives a pass and there’s not even a hint of shame.
But what about his feminism? We know he’s a feminist; he screams it out at every opportunity. Yet, when offered opportunities on several occasions by reporters to denounce Trump’s misogynistic comments which were made public as Trump ran for the presidency, Trudeau remained tellingly mute except to declare, “Canada does not comment on American politics” and “Everyone knows I’m a feminist”. But do we? Does saying something make it so? And why, in god’s name, does he conflate standing up against misogyny as interference in American politics? Some have suggested that his stance was “prudent”. What they meant is this: For god sakes, don’t jeopardize NAFTA by annoying Trump. That’s the stand of cowards and for folks with fluid ethics: do the right thing only when there is no possibility of it biting you. That about sums up Trudeau. Unfortunately, kissing ass isn’t always a winner with Trump; he could still dump on you. Ask Trudeau.
I have always been wary of those who noisily insist we accept their public persona of themselves as the real deal. Perhaps that is why I have never bought into Trudeau’s “feminism”; it was too showy and utterly unconvincing. It’s much like Trump’s insistence he is a smart man; where’s the evidence?
Even so, I was mildly surprised by recent reports of a nearly 20 year old groping allegation which led to a community newspaper editorial at the time. Not only does the Creston Valley Advance piece cast doubt to the strength and sincerity of Trudeau’s claim to feminism, it also suggests the feminism may be dependent on the status of the parties involved. In the opening lines of the editorial, Trudeau had apologized, if that’s what it was, with the following, “I’m sorry. If I had known you were reporting for a national paper, I never would have been so forward.” According to the young reporter at the time, who was also on assignment for the National Post, she had been groped by the future world’s most famous self-declared feminist. Mind you, in those days, all she likely knew then was he was just the son of a more famous Trudeau. It was the PMO that responded to the allegations. Trudeau could not recall any “negative interactions” at the time words, as some have pointed out, with a lawyerly ring to them. Days later, on July 1, he spoke for himself. He could not recall any “negative interactions”. Sounded familiar. Feeble, certainly, and no outright denial. On July 5, perhaps aware that his response was inadequate, following a meeting with Doug Ford, Ontario’s new premier and Trumpian-lite cretin clone of the North, he responded more fully. Said he, “I do not feel I did anything untoward. Often a man experiences an interaction as being benign or not inappropriate and a woman, particularly in a professional context can view it differently (CBC National, July 5, 2018). Weaselly legalese. Inadequate. And no firm denial.
Clearly Trudeau holds himself to a standard less than he demands of others as when, upon taking leadership of the party, he swiftly and brutally booted two members from the caucus. Not only had he offered them no opportunity to a fair hearing, he had named them and kept from the public the allegations made against them. Trudeau would later claim that his zero-tolerance policy would even apply to him. Really? Judge for yourself. He gives to himself an exemption denied Scott Andrews and Massimo Pacetti, the two Liberal MPs against whom the allegations were made. Look again at the opening statement of the Creston Valley Advance editorial: by his own words, if the reports are accurate, he thought a reporter of a small community paper was fair game as opposed to one from a national paper. That statement years ago may be forgiven as an ill-conceived apology by a young man but when coupled with his July 5th statement, one cannot help but wonder if his is indeed a deep-rooted belief regarding women and status. “Often a man experiences an interaction as being benign or not inappropriate and a woman, particularly in a professional context can view it differently.” Why “particularly in a professional context”? Perhaps menials as well as the less educated and sophisticated, as with small town reporters, are viewed as not only incapable of awareness of sexual harassment when inflicted on them but also as fair game: all hands on board!
The reporter of years ago has made clear that Trudeau did apologize as reported. She has also made clear that, for her, the matter is closed, a part of her past she has no interest in revisiting.
But voters do have a right to know of this episode and to question and challenge Trudeau’s credibility regarding his feminism and apparent double-standard regarding zero-tolerance when it comes to harassment.
He has set himself up to holding a standard that he has demanded of others. When they have failed or have been seen as failing, he has punished them. Yet he apparently is immune; for him, the bar is lower if non-existent. He is fond of legalese and weasel words and they, as much as his failures in ethics and keeping promises and his oozing, simply oozing sincerity, tell us all I need to know about the man. I see no charm, no saviour prince, no man of deep-rooted integrity. I see a phony. I see a toad.
Folk with fluid ethics and easy virtue almost always resort to legalese: “what I did was legal”. Is it really too much to demand that they also be honest and ethical?
Evidently so.

***

But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine

***

They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. — Benjamin Franklin

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JUSTIN TRUDEAU: THE ADORABLE ALL ROUND PC PANDERING GOOD GUY MASCOT

Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you join the dance. — Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland
The obligation to endure gives us the right to know. – Jean Rostand

Frank A. Pelaschuk

Even now, over two years after the last dance, we Canadians remain a narcotized bunch still enamoured with the Handsome Prince who charmed his way to our hearts with brash, loud, grandiose promises. We fell hard, dazzled by the Wizard, and we made it obvious throwing ourselves at his feet and swooning in paroxysms of ecstasy at mere mention of his name. Promise me anything, I’m all yours. And he did promise anything stroking the buzzwords: taxes, taxing the rich, legalization of marijuana, gender equality, child benefits, electoral reform, the middle class, openness, honesty, transparency. Never mind that he spent little time on poverty, homelessness, the single parent holding several jobs, health care, the elderly, and education. In that respect, he is no different from any other cheap politico performing before an audience of vacuous goo-goo-eyed monkeys who allow him to break rules and walk away from promises unscathed without either apology or regret indicating the extent of the self-induced coma afflicting those still supporting him.
BUT WHAT HE DELIVERED WAS NOT ALL THAT HE PROMISED
Oh, he followed through in some but his promises of openness, transparency and honesty quickly fell by the wayside revealing the true nature of his character as savvy, pragmatic, calculating, hypocritical, unethical smoothie able to bolster his image with shrewdly choreographed photo-ops and overacted displays of empathy that should alert anyone half awake wooing with dazzling smiles, accommodating selfie hungry fans and demonstrating in a trice the ability to establish the deepest of concerns and utmost affection simply by furrowing his brow and pursing his lips thoughtfully. If the occasion is particularly important, a commemorative event or a death of a dignitary or some other sombre happening, he is particularly adept at publicly displaying the depth of his emotional warmth and will, on cue and at any opportunity, empathetically tap his breast with his fingers and wring the exact number of tears required to match the magnitude of the event always making certain the cameras have caught him discreetly dabbing the corner of his eye. We like it and we buy it for we are a superficial, ignorant, and indifferent group attentive primarily on the silly in our lives as if they were profound: an opportunity to get a selfie with him or breathe the same air or exclaiming over his courage in facing the public at town hall meetings to respond to unvetted questions from the public. It is at such events that the Prince is at his best proudly showcasing his ability to work the crowd of mostly friendly faces while he explains in response to a question from an audience member who clearly believes that some things are really important, how he came to unapologetically undermine and then turn his back on electoral reform a major element of his campaign platform, particularly proportional representation as recommended by the committee formed to look into such reform: 1) the public has lost interest; 2) proportional representation would lead to fragmentation; 3) PR could lead to the election of terrorist; 4) PR “would be harmful to Canada”; 5) the ranked ballot system (Trudeau’s preferred voting system) would not necessarily benefit his party [He’s right. Historically, Canadians have only elected Liberals and Conservatives as federal governments; barring some seismic shift in voter attitudes, the Ranked Ballot would most likely continue if not cement the trend of shutting out the NDP and Greens]; 6) nothing convinces him that PR is a better system though it is the preferred system of Germany and 80 other democracies (and this guy was a teacher; a closed mind is worse than a closed book); 7) and, if re-elected and revisited, electoral reform would not include PR as an option. On this issue, his responses are disingenuous and diversionary; at no time during his campaign, did the Prince indicate that PR was not on the table or that he had reservations regarding PR. Yet, in his conversation with Chris Hall on CBC’s The House, (Feb. 3, 2018, http://www.cbc.ca/listen/shows/the-house/segment/15518052) he makes clear what he had not while campaigning on electoral reform: PR was not and never had been in the running while the ranked or preferential ballot system was. This was Trudeau’s preference which only became clear when Trudeau set out to undermine the committee when it became clear the ranked ballot was not in the running. And it quickly became clear that reform was dead when the committee made its recommendation for some form of PR and the minister of democratic institutions, Maryam Monsef, slammed the committee for not doing it’s job. Shortly after, her replacement Karina Gould drove the stake through the heart of the idea of reform. Trudeau, the rodomontade who had boldly declared 2015 the last first-past-the-post election, couldn’t even kill off an idea no one had sought but he knew many wanted. He also knew when he made that promise he would kill it if he did not get what he wanted. But he said nothing of that so people went through the process with high hopes and belief that all options were on the table; they trusted Trudeau and believed him to be fair, a man of his word. He was neither. When the committee denied him the option of the ranked ballot electoral reform was a dead as Marley’s ghost.
Still, while the town hall meetings did highlight the Prince’s skill before a crowd, it also revealed an unpleasant darker side. When a few publicly challenged Trudeau at the town hall meetings regarding this and other issues he and his supporters may have found irksome, the questioners were loudly shouted down by the Prince’s supporters while he played the pacifier thus confirming and entrenching his image of tolerant conciliator unfairly targeted by troublemakers. Unfortunately, there were episodes in which persistent questioners (hecklers to the Prince’s fans) were forcibly removed with Trudeau orchestrating it in such a way in one instance to emphasize his egalitarianism simply by asking the audience if a persistent heckler should be allowed to ask a questions. Unsurprisingly, the loyal if bloodthirsty fans shouted a resounding, “No” with the end result of having the heckler forcibly removed. It was the fallen gladiator and the Emperor looking to the mob for guidance with the thumb up or down, live or die? That move by Trudeau, whether the heckler deserved it or not, was the act of a bully performing before a witless and friendly mob more in thrall with defending the Wizard than with the valid concerns raised by the questioners and, yes, even hecklers. How much courage does it take to respond to difficult questions when the audience is largely made of adoring fans absolutely pissing their pants to do the Wizard’s bidding and when most of his questioners, unlike the Prince, is likely unaccustomed and even terrified of speaking before an crowd that might be unhappy with the question posed? His cavalier treatment of those who sincerely wanted nothing more than an honest response to questions regarding his support of pipelines and abandonment of electoral reform, possible reasons they may have voted for him, should offend everyone. It was clever, but the act of a bully nonetheless.
WHAT IS THERE TO ADMIRE IN TRUDEAU?
He is an opportunist, about image, pandering to the easy and the popular only as long as they do not conflict with his own agenda; when they do, he discards them without a backward glance and certainly no public apology. He has betrayed almost everything that he would have had us believe mattered when he campaigned for the most important job in Canada. He turned his back on human rights to lock a lucrative arms deal with one of the worlds worst abusers contravening UN sanctions and Canada’s own guidelines regarding arms trade with human rights abusers. And when critics spoke up against the sale of Canadian-made Light Armoured Vehicles to Saudi Arabia, a very lucrative deal, he lied about why he did so. The LAV deal was a done deal under Harper, he said. Not so. It was his government that signed off on the deal. He then said breaking a contract would harm Canada’s reputation. Really? On something as important as human rights? Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien had no difficulty breaking a contract for Cormorant helicopters simply because it was brokered by Brian Mulroney in 1993; that cost Canadians $478 million in penalties but seems not to have negatively impacted Canada’s reputation as a country with which to deal. With Trudeau, human rights takes a back seat when it comes to trade. That’s why he is willing to do a helicopter trade deal with the murderous Philippines president, Rodrigo Duterte, who has engaged in an extrajudicial war on drugs with the slaughter of 12,000 suspects many of whom were completely innocent but dead for simply being in the wrong place or friends and family members of suspects. But supporters of the Prince are only concerned with obtaining a selfie with him and he, as we all know, will never shy away from a camera.
Thus far, nothing sticks to Trudeau. Within months of winning his mandate, it became evident how seriously he observed his own directives to his cabinet ministers with mandate letters. He wrote: As Minister, you must ensure that you are aware of and fully compliant with the Conflict of Interest Act and Treasury Board policies and guidelines.  You will be provided with a copy of Open and Accountable Government to assist you as you undertake your responsibilities.  I ask that you carefully read it and ensure that your staff does so as well. I draw your attention in particular to the Ethical Guidelines set out in Annex A of that document, which apply to you and your staff. As noted in the Guidelines, you must uphold the highest standards of honesty and impartiality, and both the performance of your official duties and the arrangement of your private affairs should bear the closest public scrutiny. This is an obligation that is not fully discharged by simply acting within the law.  Please also review the areas of Open and Accountable Government that we have expanded or strengthened, including the guidance on non-partisan use of departmental communications resources and the new code of conduct for exempt staff.
But evidently that was a lark, for public consumption only and not to be taken seriously. He didn’t. Nor did Jody Wilson-Raybould, newly appointed justice minister, who, within months of the election, attended a fundraising event sponsored by a law firm in a clear violation of conflict of interest; Trudeau stoutly defended her while the minister made this ludicrous disclaimer: She had attended the event as a party member not as a cabinet minister! You see, they believe everyone either doesn’t care or is a simpleton.
Since then, of course, we have been witness to many such conflicts of interest with many ministers and the Prince himself attending many lucrative, highly secretive fundraising events sponsored and attended by those standing to benefit by the decisions of those government worthies. What makes it most offensive is that Prince Trudeau and members of the PMO lied for weeks about many of the events he attended claiming he often made unplanned stops at fundraisers without knowing who would be in attendance (very unlikely for security reasons), that he never talked with attendees about business matters before the government (later changing his story that some sought to raise business but were directed to go through the proper channels). At one of these meetings attended by Chinese millionaires and billionaires, two attendees would donate $50K towards a statue of the Prince’s father, $200K towards the Pierre Eliot Trudeau Foundation and $750K towards scholarships for the University of Montreal law faculty. As I noted in previous posts, a month later, one of those attendees lobbying the government had won approval to open and operate Wealth One Bank of Canada. Eventually, after months of questioning by the opposition, Trudeau agreed to end the cash-for-access fundraisers making it easier for members of the public to attend and to open them for the media. Shortly after that announcement, when the media sought to attend an event, they were barred. So much for openness and transparency.
Trudeau is an honest man, yes he is, but he was found in breach of conflict guidelines by Mary Dawson, Ethics Commissioner at the time, for accepting a free ride over the Christmas season to the private island of the Aga Khan whose foundation has received $330 million from Canada since 1981 with a promise by Trudeau for another $55 million over the next five years. His explanation? The Aga Khan was a family friend. Of his father, perhaps, but not so much the Prince according to Dawson. Small stuff, Trudeau’s fans may sniff, but not so small a breach when he dismisses the episode with a shrug saying he has apologized and complied with all the rules. That is the fallback explanation of weasels, resorting to legalese whether rightly or not of following the letter of the law, the bare minimum at that, while ignoring the ethical. This is the man who demands of his ministers what he does not of himself. When his ministers made unwarranted expense claims, he made them reimburse the public purse; one had to do so three times. Yet, when Conservatives questioned him about repaying some of the cost of that vacation ride, a government plane on stand-by, staff, friends, and security who also took the ride, he stuck to script repeating, almost word for word the legalese that provided no answers. Apparently, the script was handed over to Government House leader, Bardish Chagger, for she responded to the same questions with identical words in Trudeau’s absence adding, in response to protests from the opposition: “I respond the same way because the opposition keeps asking the same questions.” Amusing.
SO ELECTORAL REFORM, ETHICS, HUMAN RIGHTS WENT BY THE WAYSIDE
As promised, Trudeau did open most of the Veterans offices closed by the Conservatives under Harper. But what of his promise to reinstate the lifelong disability pension plan for vets? No luck there. For a clear summary of the Harper cuts, go to the Tyee website https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2015/08/19/Conservative-Attacks-Canadian-Veterans/. It was Harper who got rid of the plan replacing it with a one-time lump sum payment. After two years, there has been movement by the liberals towards reinstatement of some parts of the life-long disability pension plan to start in 2019 but clearly it is not enough and offers even less than when it was razed by Harper in 2006. Veterans, confounded and feeling betrayed, have gone to court. When vet Brock Blaszczk, who had lost a leg while serving in Afghanistan, asked at a town hall why the Prince was fighting the vets on this, Trudeau responded, “they are asking more than we can afford”! This of men and women who have willingly put everything, including their lives and limbs, on the line for this country.
Vets ask too much! This from a man who turned his back on the veterans as easily as he did electoral reform.
So, how does he stack up as a feminist?
On the plus side, he can, rightly, point with pride to his gender balanced cabinet with women heading several key departments. That is the good.
What is not so good is the extent of the silliness to which he will resort in his effort to pander to any group or cause that seems likely to engender wide support. In other words, he is a politically correct gadfly jerk. At a recent town hall meeting, he interrupted a female questioner’s long-winded preamble to a question by suggesting her usage of the word “mankind” be replaced by “peoplekind” as more appropriate eliciting applause from the crowd and the questioner. While this was clearly meant as a joke, a dumb one at that, it is indicative of his character and of those to whom he panders; they will gladly twist themselves into unmanageable knots to forgive him everything and prove themselves in step with the “new” orthodoxy of gender neutral bubble-headed PC imbecility. It was a stupid joke and does not merit the attention and ridicule it garnered except for the fact that Trudeau’s lifelong friend and top advisor in the PMO, Gerald Butts, exacerbated matters by labelling those critical of his boss’s oozing, simply oozing feel-good efforts as Nazis. This kind of disrespect for critics of Trudeau is different from that of the Harper gang in what way? That is an odd response from a government seeking to pass itself as enlightened with its relentless campaign to have us embrace the image reminiscent of the sixties and seventies “flower power” movement with its “all you need is love” sappiness.
So is Trudeau a feminist? I question that. Saying so doesn’t make it so. When offered opportunity by members of the press on two occasions at least to demonstrate the strength of his commitment to feminism, Trudeau kept mum during the American presidential campaign rather than calling out misogynist Donald Trump boasting about groping women. What he said instead was this: “Everyone knows I’m a feminist.” For some, the failure by Trudeau to condemn Trump’s admission of sexual harassment merited commendation rather than censure his silence demonstrating remarkable leadership skills; Trudeau was not only tactful, he could not be lured into riling a bully with NAFTA negotiations on the horizon. Evidently, principles and integrity, as are campaign promises, are utilitarian, devices to be deployed with flash and noise only when helpful but otherwise quietly tossed aside for more congenial occasions.
He has made a great deal of his support of women, women’s rights, and the #MeToo movement; he brings his “feminist” side to the fore at every opportunity to demonstrate that he cares, really, really, really, cares. Yet, according to CTV News (Feb. 6, 2018), his government is quietly working to quash the class action lawsuit by female military personnel against the Canadian forces for sexual harassment, gender discrimination and racism leading some to charges of hypocrisy on the party of Trudeau and his government. Following the release of that report, Trudeau’s response was swift. The government action did not “align with his core beliefs”; Harjit Sajjan, the minister of defence would have the justice minister take another look at the issue. On Feb. 23, CTV News reported that the Liberal government was seeking to settle with the complainants out of court. Whatever the outcome, the Prince is one feminist of “iffy” steadfastness.
His is the political correctness of the opportunist. He will don any PC mask for any occasion. It can get him in trouble as with his trip to India this week with apparently a confused agenda — business or political — other than to offer ample opportunity for photo-ops and a moment to declare that there was a trade agreement worth $1 billion though others have put the real value at about $200 million. Apart from the exaggerated claims, the trip was a disaster, he and his family mocked for their traditional attire as with the following comments: “Is it just me or is this choreographed cuteness all just a bit much now? Also FYI we Indians don’t dress like this every day sir, not even in Bollywood.” —Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) Feb. 21, 2018 and “How did Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the world’s favorite liberal mascot — a feminist man, with movie-star good looks, a 50 percent female cabinet and a political lexicon that has replaced “mankind” with “peoplekind” (making millions swoon) — end up looking silly, diminished and desperate on his trip to India this week” (Barkha Dutt, WashingtonPost, Feb. 22, 2018). Well, the answer is clear: Trudeau is a panderer and self-promoting PC lodestar for those who need such and it appears many do.
Then, of course, it got worse. Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau as well as other MPs of Trudeau’s cabinet, was photographed with a man once a member of the Sikh Youth Federation banned as a terrorist group in Canada, the U.K., the U.S. and India. Jaspal Atwal spent 20 years in prison for attempting to assassinate a Punjab politician vacationing on Vancouver Island in 1985 and was charged but not convicted of the near fatal attack on Ujjal Dosangh, a one time liberal member of parliament in 1986. To compound the disaster, that same would-be assassin was invited by Liberal MP Randeep Sarai to attend a dinner in Delhi hosted by the Canadian High Commissioner. The invitation was later rescinded but, for some critics, this affair lent credence to the belief that Canada was sympathetic to the Sikh separatist movement.
This is not a first with the Prince. Trudeau’s relentless determination to seize every seemingly positive PC opportunity for a photo-op has got him in trouble in the past as when, Dec. 19, he posed with rescued hostages Joshua Boyle, his wife and three children held by the Taliban in Afghanistan and returned home October of last year. From Oct. 14 to Dec. 30, apparently Trudeau and security unaware, Boyle was under investigation for assault, sexual assault and forcible confinement. On New Years day, 2018, he appeared in court facing 15 charges.
This is not just about security lapses. It’s about lapses of ethics and judgement by a man more interested in being all things to all people and seizing every opportunity to enhance his image with a photo-op. Sometimes it doesn’t work and the position itself is an impossibility that can only lead to contradiction and conflict. When he was elected, Trudeau spoke of “deliverology”, a buzzword indicating movement from idea to implementation. It may be appealing but has proved meaningless under his governance. It was showy in the same way his promises of electoral reform and reinstating lifelong disability pensions for vets. His appeal is that of the superficial for the superficial, the monkeys who still applaud his every utterance and drool over his every move, those who expect little and demand even less from their leaders because it is not leadership or genuine nation-building accomplishments that move them.
What does is theatrics, the great show and empty calories of eye candy, the Prince Charming and the Beautiful Princess and their beautiful family and the fact that they make appearances in Vogue, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair. A few trinkets tossed our way is often sufficient and if promises fall by the wayside, that’s fine as well: we have a quick forgettery, endless patience and seemingly bottomless faith that the two partners we have always danced with will treat us right until they don’t.
We may notice that attractive third party on the sidelines seeking to join the dance whispering promises equally mellifluous but will not accept his offer because we fear to appear friendly to him warned by the two partners we have danced with for over 150 years that he is dangerous with dangerous ideas. They should know, we tell ourselves.
No, we will not make room to include the third party, the liberals and conservatives will just do fine. And if they ignore us during the dance, that is fine, as well. We will have danced and been fed sweet words and if we feel slighted by either, we will gently tease them about that third party waiting patiently in the wings for his turn. But the liberals and conservatives needn’t worry. We don’t mean it even if the bruising is beginning to hurt.
Where does the Prince stand? Who knows? Who can trust him? It’s a question we should not have to ask of one seeking to convince us he loves us, he really loves us. Yet I suspect he is a man of such great courage that he would abandon his loves, principles and soul for his ambitions.
NOTE: While I had left the door open with my last post, I had hoped it would indeed be my last. Unfortunately, while what I say may not be particularly new or noteworthy, there is just something about those politicians that get to me. It was Harper that started this post and Trudeau who continues it. Sorry.

**

But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

***

They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin

TRUDEAU, HYPOCRISY AND THE REST OF US

Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing. — Edmund Burke

With people of limited ability modesty is merely honesty. But with those who possess great talent, it is hypocrisy. — Arthur Schopenhauer

Frank Pelaschuk

WHY?
If one were to ask a neophyte politician why he/she entered politics, we would likely hear something similar to the following: “I want to give something back”; “I believe I can make a difference”; “It’s time for a change”. From this we are to glean that he or she is just the one who can deliver.
These folk may even believe it and hope their supporters will as well. And if, years later, we were to revisit them, now seasoned politicos, no longer dewy-eyed, perhaps even a bit jaded after years on the hustings, we were to ask the same question, they would likely respond in a similar vein, no longer believing any of it this time but still hoping their supporters will — again and again. The voter seldom disappoints and, federally, never. He hears variations of the same promises from all sides looking remarkably alike, casts his vote which delivers the same outcome from whichever side wins and always, always, from the same two parties that have ever governed the Nation. The voter seems incapable of noting let alone giving credence to the third or fourth parties in the room. They will listen politely but will always be lured to those offering the shinier trinkets of vague promises promoted with unctuous bombast. That is how they have always voted and will likely always vote. Change? Come every election, voters are told they want change, will say they want change but, in the end, will do what they have always done, opt for one of the two heads on the same coin. All that changes is the name of party: Liberal or Conservative. The sad reality is the voter is too timid, too easily threatened or just too stupid to do any other than what he has always done: better the devil one knows.
It’s a filthy business. Everyone, with few exceptions, touched by politics, and that means everyone, are always on the look out for the main chance: what’s in it for me? One may enter the field as innocently as any lamb with intentions pure and noble but it doesn’t take much to turn him into another slavering wolf. There is no benefit to being innocent and even less a lamb. Besides, let’s face it, going into politics for any other reason than to grab power, to hold on to it and coming out ahead is a mugs game best left for idealists who, inexplicably, believe people are basically good and deserve good in turn. What a crock! Integrity, honesty, the ability to experience shame is for suckers. But don’t ask any successful politician, he’ll smile, pat you on the back oozing, simply oozing sincerity denying that that is so and may even point to himself as refutation of that canard, smiling, brazenly daring you to deny that he is an honest man. Of course he is, you’ll agree, you know the game, you’re a player as well. When he leaves, look to see if he’s rubbing his hands smiling, smiling, smiling. It might be wise to check for your wallet.
It is unlikely that no one believed this more than Stephen Harper and his gang, many of whom now sit in opposition denouncing what they once proselytized while the Liberals, sitting where the Conservatives once sat seek to do exactly what they previously denounced.
SURE, HE’S A HYPOCRITE BUT DOES ANYONE CARE?
In politics, hypocrisy is nothing from which to shy away and is, in fact, almost de rigueur. Decency and integrity, while noble sentiments are just sentiments and tend only to be hindrances to the main goal and chance. The reality is never as inviting as the promise. The promise need not be substantial, better it is not for, if broken, abandoned, or found impractical, it may come back to haunt one if too heavily invested in by the voting public; better the promise be flimsy, unimportant but shiny, glittery and easy to fulfill; if not, the one making the promises must be mostly handsome packaging and full of fervent offerings that need only be symbolic: declare oneself a feminist; call oneself a friend of the First Nations peoples; scream that Human Rights is a priority. The symbolic requires no real commitment, just a lot of hot button words, grand empty gestures, and more promises, perhaps a concrete move of little consequence, the removal of a name from a public building, say, but nothing big or costly yet reaping huge rewards while appeasing those whose votes you seek. Just keep to the grand and empty, to the loud and flowery; they’ll sound great to the dumb and dumber more easily moved to tears by the gorgeous, sweet-talking eye-candy politicos before them than by images of homeless, starving, brutalized, dying, or dead strangers half a world away.
If anyone in politics today knows that, it is Justin Trudeau and his gang. He is a winner in the world of phonies, but sadly, he is not alone.
I will not say “all” politicians are liars and hypocrites for that is too sweeping an indictment, but I daresay “most” would be accurate. Trudeau is more adept than most in both areas prone to loud pronouncements promising the moon which seldom seem to stand up, as with electoral reform which Trudeau, full of rodomontade, proclaimed would be the end of first-past-the-post elections while keeping to himself his preferred choice of reform and what steps he would take if the end result did not meet his wants and expectations. He is, in fact, a master of the dubious and empty follow through, committed to nothing but his own desires, wants and expectations. He did not fret the consequences of his betrayal nor was there need; he knew his fans, for that’s all they are and that was all he needed. Charm and smarm, of which he possesses in plentitude, will suffice he believed. He was right. He is the golden boy and, for now, untouchable. If his supporters see the cracks and smell the hint of rot, they ignore them or do not care. None of it matters. He breaks a key election promise; he accepts gifts in the way of a free helicopter ride from a wealthy family friend whose foundation receives millions from Canadians with promises of more; he and his ministers attend fundraisers put on by the very people who stand to benefit from their decisions. That’s real conflict of interest but, what the hell, who cares? Trudeau himself met secretly with wealthy businessmen from China at a private fundraiser and lied about it when he said there was no discussion of business interests before the government (only later did he admit there had been); he turns his back on Human Rights as a priority and, while declaring himself a feminist, fails to condemn another leader for misogynistic utterances and is disturbingly silent on what his own minister of international trade, Chrystia Freeland, has condemned as “ethnic cleansing” of the Rohingya people in Myanmar. None of this touches him or his legions of fans. They simply do not care.
Make no mistake: Trudeau is as closed, secretive, and hypocritical as the worst of politicians. The preceding paragraph clearly demonstrates how he even betrayed himself when he turned his back on his own mandate in the form of letters to his ministers when he declared:
I expect Canadians to hold us accountable for delivering these commitments, and I expect all ministers to do their part – individually and collectively – to improve economic opportunity and security for Canadians.
We have committed to an open, honest government that is accountable to Canadians, lives up to the highest ethical standards, and applies the utmost care and prudence in the handling of public funds. I expect you to embody these values in your work and observe the highest ethical standards in everything you do. When dealing with our Cabinet colleagues, Parliament, stakeholders, or the public, it is important that your behaviour and decisions meet Canadians’ well-founded expectations of our government. I want Canadians to look on their own government with pride and trust.
As Minister, you must ensure that you are aware of and fully compliant with the Conflict of Interest Act and Treasury Board policies and guidelines.  You will be provided with a copy of Open and Accountable Government to assist you as you undertake your responsibilities.  I ask that you carefully read it and ensure that your staff does so as well. I draw your attention in particular to the Ethical Guidelines set out in Annex A of that document, which apply to you and your staff. As noted in the Guidelines, you must uphold the highest standards of honesty and impartiality, and both the performance of your official duties and the arrangement of your private affairs should bear the closest public scrutiny. This is an obligation that is not fully discharged by simply acting within the law.  Please also review the areas of Open and Accountable Government that we have expanded or strengthened, including the guidance on non-partisan use of departmental communications resources and the new code of conduct for exempt staff. – Excerpt from Trudeau Government Mandate
Principles
• Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries must ensure that political fundraising activities or considerations do not affect, or appear to affect, the exercise of their official duties or the access of individuals or organizations to government.
• There should be no preferential access to government, or appearance of preferential access, accorded to individuals or organizations because they have made financial contributions to politicians and political parties.
• There should be no singling out, or appearance of singling out, of individuals or organizations as targets of political fundraising because they have official dealings with Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries, or their staff or departments. – Excerpt from Trudeau Open and Accountable Government GuidelinesHigh-minded words rendered meaningless in light of the behaviour of Trudeau and a few of his ministers.
HE DID SO PROMISE A ROSE GARDEN
So why was Justin Trudeau, who has and continues to fail and disappoint at almost every level, elected in the first place? Surely it had to be for reasons more substantial than his good looks, his charm, his beautiful wife and children and the legacy of his father as an intellectual progressive that gave us our first taste of Trudeaumania that quickly waned with marriage and the stark reality of the October Crisis and imposition of the War Measures Act. It was not just the young who voted for the son enraptured by his youth and oozing, simply oozing sincerity, but also those old timers who where there when Trudeau père shone as his son now does, their memories, perhaps aided by the passage of time, offering a picture slightly burnished where Pierre’s popularity slipped from soaring adulation to bitter denunciation only to return a few years later to one of resigned acceptance: he was a familiar face that wasn’t the worst that was on offer at the time. Hardly a sufficient enough reason to pick one for the role of Prime Minister yet a far better justification than on display years later by the artful performance of the son when apparently good looks, lots of hair and too many feel-good grand promises, too grand to be convincing let alone believed, were, it seems, more than sufficient to elect a man who has proven himself a crafty phony time-and-again.
It is not only that he has turned, happily turned, his back on electoral reform and Human rights, though they play huge roles in my feelings towards him, it is that he won his victory through guile which, of course, one expects of politicians, passing himself not just as an anti-Harper personae but also as a progressive and someone who was truly different and for the better. He is none of these. Rather, Trudeau is a shell of light pleasantries and soothing blandishments, a husk of cloying sincerity that appears overdone, false, and, at times, of extreme bad taste. Symbolic gestures and hollow, high-minded words are emblematic of his character and his governance. That is the Trudeau the world sees. But under that benign smile and sickening sincerity is a cold, calculating, pragmatic, dishonest, manipulative, scheming, ruthless and opportunistic being who rivals anyone in the world of politics at its worst. The surface may be appealing, but it’s the content of the package that should really concern us. This is a man who finds little difficulty in shaking hands and doing trade deals with thugs and murderers; like Harper and the Harper gang, it is all about the wealth and health of Business and a few tokens to appease those to whom he devotes so, so many words: the First Nations peoples and the “middle class”.
AND DELIVERED A PILE OF…
In 2014, Trudeau suspended two Liberal MPs after allegations of sexual harassment in separate incidences were levelled against them. No charges were brought against the two who denied the allegations. Their careers in ruins, the two left the party in the expectation they would be permanently expelled. Compare that to Trudeau’s treatment of Calgary Liberal MP Darshan Kang recently faced with allegations of sexual misconduct which he has denied. Opposition members called on Trudeau to demand Kang’s resignation or to expel him from caucus until there was a complete investigation. Trudeau did neither and, when Kang finally did resign from caucus, Trudeau refused to say if he had pushed the MP to do so. Why was Trudeau’s behaviour so decisive in the first instance and less apparent in this? Alberta has elected only four Liberal MPs. Could the loss of one member explain Trudeau’s peculiar foot dragging?
Trudeau has made much of his “feminism” pointing to his cabinet. I question it. When given an opportunity (at least twice) to condemn the recorded misogynistic mouthings of Trump that came to light during the American campaign, Trudeau refused to do so.
Trudeau’s failure in Human Rights, which he claimed a priority during his campaign, is even more egregious, not only because of his signing off on the Light-Armoured trade deal with Human Rights abuser Saudi Arabia but also because of his eager, whole-hearted commitment to expand trade with China. No doubt the friendships he developed with many Chinese millionaire/billionaires during his many secret fundraising endeavours has gone a long way to smoothing the path of his courtship of China. As with Stephen Harper, all other considerations take a back seat when trade and Big Business are involved.
Human Rights? Why is Trudeau’s response close to mute on the crisis taking place in Myanmar? Why is he refusing to call out Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor (similar to role of Prime Minister), Nobel Peace Prize winner and honorary Canadian citizen for her silence on what Chrystia Freeland, international trade minister, echoing the UN, has called “ethnic cleansing” of Rohingya Muslims in Burma? In September 21, while addressing the UN, he spoke only of domestic matters, condemning Canada’s role in the treatment of First Nations peoples and even, ridiculously, referring to his plans at tax reform. Again, offered the opportunity to condemn what was happening outside of Canada, the matter of the persecuted Rohingya, the war of words between Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jung-un, he kept mum. It was a peculiar performance unbefitting a world leader. While his comments on indigenous matters was accurate and blunt, that was solely for public consumption at home; why use that opportunity to speak on domestic affairs to which the UN plays no role? Besides, while big on talk, what has Trudeau’s Liberals accomplished these past two years regarding the indigenous community regarding housing, teen suicide, jobs, and infrastructure? Why are close to 200 First Nations communities without clean, let alone safe, drinking water? His appearance at the UN was about self-aggrandizement and symbolic platitudes and sound bites. Human Rights? While he offers a shameless display of babbittry for the folks at home, he reveals his concerns have everything to do with promoting and protecting trade, business interests and the Liberal brand. Immediately following his UN speech, he took time to respond to questions from the media. He was asked to comment on Trump’s threat in response to North Korea’s militaristic actions. “It is not my job to opine on the policies of the United States”! That was essentially the same answer he gave regarding the release of Trump’s vile utterances regarding the groping of women. This is not a leader speaking. That is man concerned with the preservation of his image and not making waves lest he disturbs and raises the ire of the red-haired loony south of us who might, just might, retaliate economically.
Feminism? Human Rights? Recently, Ralph Goodale, public safety minister, speaking for the government has outlined revamped rules regarding information obtained through torture. Canada will now embrace information gathered through torture while disavowing complicity to the torture by foreign, presumably allied, states if there is reason to believe Canada is a risk. Pretty broad guidelines with no clear terms of reference. “We were guided by the government’s commitment to keep Canadians safe and uphold Canada’s commitments to human rights and the rule of law,” he said (Kathleen Harris, CBC News, September 25, 2017). Typically, the Trudeau mob wants it both ways, keeping their hands clean while others do the dirty work. Not complicit? I don’t know. Seems to me a pretty clear sign of commitment if one remains silent regarding a criminal act and knowingly takes advantage to gain by it.
Different? Better? Open? Transparent? Well, that was the promise.
It is unfortunate that style over substance is the name of today’s game. During the last election, the NDP was clearly seen as a real contender. They could have, they should have, they didn’t. The Liberals and NDP pulled a switcheroo, the Liberals stealing from the left and the left surrendering as it raced to the centre. That worked well, didn’t it. Today, as the NDP is about to pick its new leader, it seems prepared to take a page from Trudeau, opting for charisma and vague utterances over substance. Jagmeet Singh looks good, speaks well and certainly presents himself as a contender as during his last appearance with his rivals before the leadership vote. He made his appearance running out from the wings and bouncing on stage waving his hands in the air as he jogged in place, a huge contingent of supporters behind him. My God, this was the great NDP hope. But what is his platform? For what does he stand? It is all vague,Trudeau light and I have had enough of Trudeau.
Politics has been reduced to a garish show of eye-candy and little more. Where are the big ideas and the big, fulfilled, promises? If the NDP picks Singh, the message is clear: the old guard, the stalwarts of the party are no longer needed or wanted. It is all about winning and if betrayal is part of the package, so be it. All those youthful and hopeful folks who voted for Trudeau were betrayed by an image and a promise never meant to be true or honoured. Will the NDP take that route? Looks like it.
There is no honour. There is no belief. There is no hope. There are only winners and losers and we, who put them in office, are just ancillary adjuncts wooed and stroked only to be ignored when the race is over until needed next election.
Trudeau and all the gang on all sides may be hypocrites but what does that say about the rest of us?
NOTE: I wish to thank all my readers and those who wrote me, in particular Pamela MacNeil, whose words, wisdom and support encouraged me to continue writing probably for much longer than I should have. I would have liked to have heard from more of you. I may return, likely will, but, for now, for a few months at least, I will take my leave. I have nothing new to say or to add and I haven’t, I believe, for some time. Thank you.

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But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

***

They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. — Benjamin Franklin

TRUMP, MISOGYNY & RACISM: TRUDEAU’S PECULIAR SILENCE

In Rhodesia a white truck driver passed a group of idle natives and muttered, “They’re lazy brutes.” A few hours later he saw natives heaving two-hundred pound sacks of grain onto a truck, singing in rhythm to their work. “Savages!” he grumbled. “What do you expect?” – Gordon W. Allport

If we believe absurdities we shall commit atrocities. – Voltaire

Frank Pelaschuk

 

It may be a truism that has become reductive: Every tragedy offers opportunity to showcase the best and the worst of us.

We have recently been witness to a lot of both. We have seen the faces and heard the voices of hope and reason standing up to the ugly proponents of intolerance, unreason, and violence. Heather Heyer and scores of others, as part of the first group in Charlottesville, Virginia, became victims of the second group. Heyer paid with her life only to have her and the others targeted again by Donald Trump when he attempted to offer a moral equivalency to their behaviour as opponents of racism to that of the white-supremacist neo-Nazis who feed on fear, ignorance, hatred, and victimhood. Heyer, as Trump would have it, was as responsible for her death and the others as responsible for their injuries as the white supremacist supporter who aimed his vehicle at them. His comments, vile and shocking as they were, surely could not have surprised; it was only a question of how low Trump would sink. Well, it appears, there is no sewer that does not appeal to him. A few days later, Barcelona ­­– 14 innocents murdered, terrorists hunted, captured and killed. In both instances, immediately following the tragic and murderous insanity, in Charlottesville and Barcelona and around the world, ordinary citizens, opponents of white supremacist neo-Nazis and terrorism rallied on the side of the angels in massive displays of defiance and grief: the haters and butchers would not intimidate them.

THUGS

Unfortunately, for those opponents of fascism and white supremacists, there were a few, as there invariably is at such gatherings, set on undermining the hopes of forceful, effective and peaceful support for the victims of Charlottesville and Barcelona. In Quebec City a far-right anti-Islam anti-immigration group, La Meute, had been granted a permit to march August 20th before Quebec’s National Assembly. Gathered at a nearby parking lot, La Meute marchers found themselves outnumbered and confined to the parking lot by anti-fascist protestors. The march did not take place. Even so, La Meute and its supporters were handed a get out of jail card claiming victory in the name of free speech while their anti-fascist opponents, sporting a black eye, reeled, wondering what had happened. Among those opponents of fascism and racists, there mingled a familiar and particularly nasty group of masked, black-clad thugs shouting anti-fascist slogans; but these were not men and women seeking to aid the cause of forceful, effective and peaceful opposition nor were they interested in constructive dialogue. They, apparently all men, were there as thugs, disruptors, more interested in the display of force than in suasion roaming among the peaceful anti-fascist ranks in groups seeking to do damage beating a man for carrying a Patriotes and Quebec flag, throwing plastic chairs at helmeted police, setting a dumpster afire, and targeting members of the media snatching and smashing cameras. These hooligans were hardly on the side of the angels their behaviour more that of agents provocateurs working on behalf of the far right or, as in those good old days of the sixties and seventies, for the police, in hopes of discrediting so-called leftists, i.e., opponents of fascism, though it is doubtful that those brutish elements who show up at every political rally believe in anything but violence and thuggery. If they differ from the imbecilic and ignorant white supremacist racists who must scapegoat, blaming everyone but themselves for their failures, it is difficult to determine. By day’s end, the far-right group and supporters emerged from the parking lot knowing they had carried the day and been granted an opportunity to look good, if such an outcome can be possible of bigots. Even so, the victory was not absolute; one member who had come in support of La Meute appeared on the late news saying something like this: “We’re not racists, we just hate Islam.” Go figure.

There is, nevertheless, almost reason for hope. Those really on the side of the angels appear, for now, to far outnumber the vile, hateful, violence-prone racists and murderers seeking to spread their nihilistic messages. Almost reason for hope. It is not enough to declare oneself as anti-fascist and then act like the thugs you claim to detest; what pride must one possess in deeds that he must mask himself from the public eye?

THE MISSING

Almost reason for hope. But something is missing. Oh, yes, the great and small and good are out there, arms linked in sorrow and defiance not only to the mad acts but also the mad ravings of someone who heads one of the great democracies in the world. But where are the world leaders when needed most? True, they condemn the mad acts; that is easy enough to do. But what have they to offer regarding the lunatic musings of Trump besides the muted generalized and inoffensive pap of which we hear too much? Where is the loud, loud, loud united condemnation from our world leaders? Oh, there have been a few raised angry voices, predictably from enemies of the US. But what of American allies? Where are the voices of outrage, of resounding condemnation, the pointed fingers and loud, unequivocal denunciations of that most unpresidential of lunatics who, the day after Charlottesville, sought to blame both sides for what happened, then reversed himself and then doubled down only to reverse himself once again? Which Trump can we believe? Unquestionably, the real Trump is the monstrous Trump that refused to condemn those white supremacists that first day and who, while campaigning urged his supporters to punch out those who disrupted his rallies.

Amy B. Wang, of the Washington Post, Aug. 16, provides a few offerings from some of the leaders. The first is by British PM Elizabeth May. “I see no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who oppose them. I think it is important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far right views wherever we hear them.” May, you will note, does not name Trump. And there is this by the European Commission, again without mention of Trump or Charlottesville, “We reject and condemn all forms and manifestations of racism and xenophobia. They are incompatible with the values and principles upon which the E.U. is founded.” German Justice Minister Heiko Maas was more direct: “It is unbearable how Trump is now glossing over the violence of the right-wing hordes from Charlottesville. No one should trivialize anti-Semitism and racism by neo-Nazis.” Martin Shulz, leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, had this to say: “Nazis must be confronted decisively. What Trump is doing is highly incendiary. Those who downplay violence and hate betray the values of the West!”

Shouldn’t there be more? Should not our own Canadian political leaders take a more forceful, more direct stand regarding Trump’s vile moral equivalency?

HYPOCRITES

Well, yes. But they have failed miserably. Of the three major Canadian leaders, only the NDP’s Thomas Mulcair from the get go has stood out in absolute opposition to Trump calling him a “fascist”. For some, that language was extreme. But was it?

In the wake of Charlottesville, Andrew Scheer, newly elected leader of the Conservatives, Jason Kenney, ex-MP, and Brian Jean, former member of the Wildrose Party who, with Kenney, was a guiding force behind the Unite the Right movement in Alberta, suddenly seemed to have discovered that granting interviews to Ezra Levant’s The Rebel, may not be such a good idea after all. The Rebel, a media platform for the far-right anti-Islamic white supremacist media group and the purveyor of “real” fake news since 2015 with the death of Sun News Network, appears to be Canada’s answer to Breitbart and it has been so from day one. One of its stalwarts, Faith Goldy, providing live coverage in Charlottesville when the events leading to Heyer’s death unfolded, seemed in her element offering favourable “reportage” of the neo-Nazi rally and gleefully condemning the left as “intolerant” even as the car drove into the crowd killing Heyer and injuring scores. This was just one of several events that was to offer The Rebel one of its worst weeks with members leaving and/or fired, contributors fleeing and questions regarding financial mismanagement, accusations of dishonestly solicited donations, misuse of viewer and supporter email addresses, charges of blackmail, hush money, and the man himself, Levant offering a pitiably inadequate mea culpa in an attempt to distance himself from the Alt-Right and Faith Goldy, since fired, evidently having gone too far in Charlottesville and for appearing on a podcast by the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi pro-genocide outlet and purveyor of extremist white supremacy and anti-Muslim hate-mongering views while whining about white victimhood. Evidently her sympathetic support of white supremacists raising the issue of “white racial consciousness”, her take on “white genocide” by Muslims, and her concerns regarding the “JQ” or Jewish question were not offensive enough. These are folks with a nasty mindset long known for extremist views warning Canadians of the Great Muslim Takeover Of The World, a conspiracy theory otherwise known as Counter-Jihad. So when Scheer, Jason and Jean seek to distance themselves from The Rebel with claims of being surprised and unhappy with the direction it has taken, serious doubts occur; can they be believed or trusted? Hardly. From the start, The Rebel has been espousing the same filthy bilge. When it suited his needs, as during his Conservative leadership bid, Scheer and other Conservatives, have had no difficulty citing The Rebel as a source and in granting interviews clearly untroubled then by The Rebel’s vicious anti-Muslim stance and its assertions of “white genocide”. Can anyone in the Conservative camp claim to be surprised and be honest about the direction of The Rebel, which has never sugar-coated their vile, extreme views especially when at least one campaign manager for Scheer during his leadership bid was on the editorial board of The Rebel? These are rats abandoning a stinking, sinking ship. It is not the loathsome opinions that disturb Scheer, Kenney or Jean but the sudden unwanted harsh glare of bad press threatening The Rebel and themselves by extension. Surprised? Levant has been peddling his hateful drivel for years and yet, remarkably, very few, if any, voices from the Conservative party have ever confronted his vile grab bag of cant. For those interested, I highly recommend Inside Rebel Media by Richard Warnica in the National (http://nationalpost.com/features/inside-ezra-levants-rebel-media).

THE PHONY PM

But where, oh where, is Justin Trudeau in all this? Well, not surprisingly, the big talking phony is mute. Hardly a peep. Oh, yes, he’s loud on the big and symbolic as last weekend marching happily in the Gay Pride parade; that’s how he got elected. I’ll make Human Rights a priority. I’m a feminist. 2015 was the last ever first-past-the-post election. Loud, smug, self-reverential, self-serving blarney. However, when it comes to proving himself, to standing up and being counted, really counted, on the big issues, Trudeau has shown himself a man particularly nimble at escaping the close scrutiny and utter contempt of the public simply by remaining silent. He reminds me of a line: Everybody should believe in something; I believe I’ll have another drink. That about sums up Trudeau, a man who knows his priorities and that’s looking after number one.

My view of him is not a result of disgruntlement born of bitter disappointment, a Trudeau fan lashing out at him for failing to honour so many of his grand promises. I never believed in the Trudeau or his promise in the first place but I was willing to wait and see. It didn’t take long to determine what manner of man he is: he is just a prettier and softer version of Harper but unlike Harper, less honest about who and what he is. Yes, the world loves him. That sunny, sunny smile to go with his sunny, sunny ways. And when it comes to sympathy, no one, absolutely no one oozes it quite like our boy, brows furrowed, eyelids working, lips slightly pulled down and, lest we don’t quite get it, right hand over left breast, fingers tapping, tapping, signalling that it is all there, in his heart, that he oozes, just oozes, sincerity and comprehension of one’s pain. And, if that’s not enough, just wait, he’ll pull out a handkerchief and dab at the corner of his eye. You won’t miss it. The camera will find it, that single tear as Trudeau delicately dabs it away. The world may be moved by such a heartfelt display but I’m not buying it. It’s an act, it’s as real as Trudeau’s feminism.

But the signs of what he is were there very early into his term and I have written of them many times. There were, of course, the many worrisome fundraisers attended by Trudeau and his ministers raising the spectre of conflict of interests; he lied and then did a turnabout when he claimed no one sought to do business with him at these affairs. While campaigning he had made Human Rights a priority but almost immediately turned his back on that by signing off on the $15 billion trade deal with Human Rights abuser Saudi Arabia ignoring warnings that the Canadian made light-armoured vehicles could be retrofitted with weapons and used against Saudi citizens. Recently, some videos came to light purportedly showing exactly that. Chrystia Freeland, international trade minister, found that very troubling if true. Not a peep from Trudeau. And, of course, we can all recall his craven undermining of the electoral reform committee when, shortly at its formation, he grumbled that Canadians no longer considered it a priority. But this was after he sought to stack the committee to get the outcome he desired: a ranked ballot system. When that didn’t work out he had his minster, too cowardly to do it himself, kill reform offering a miserable, absolutely false lie as justification for doing so (it could lead to extremists taking control of government) when most Western democracies enjoy a robust and healthy form of Proportional Representation. He is not only a liar he is a revisionist sneak. He is certainly not a man to be trusted.

As he proved when he refused to support his many declarations of himself a feminist while pointing to the makeup of his cabinet as proof. It’s no such thing. When offered the opportunity (twice at least) to condemn Trump’s misogynistic statements which came to light during Trump’s campaign, Trudeau stated that everyone knew he was a “feminist” and that it wasn’t Canada’s business to comment on the internal affairs of another country. He said that twice. Which makes him a coward twice, at least. His supporters claimed he was practicing diplomacy and they applauded his tact and prudence. You don’t want to rile Donald Trump especially with NAFTA negotiations hovering in the background. Remember, Trudeau boasted about his feminism and campaigned, in part, on Human Rights. He failed the test on both counts but not for the last time. For Trudeau, as for Harper, the health and well being of BIG BUSINESS is paramount. Human Rights and feminism, well, when push comes to shove they’ll take second place. As apparently does his promise to be different and better. Not only did Trudeau accept a free helicopter ride from the Aga Khan during Christmas holidays, a family friend whose foundation has received over $310 million from Canadians, he took along friends with him. One of his closest advisors, Gerald Butts, is also a life-long friend of Trudeau. It is said he is also a personal friend of Trump’s. Now that’s okay but should he be advising Trudeau on anything regarding Trump? As well, another friend of Butts, Rana Sarkar, has been appointed as consul general in San Francisco at almost double the usual salary. Several concerns arise from this. Why such a high salary? Butts tweeted that it was for the sacrifice Sarkar has made by leaving the private sector! Hey, what? If Sarkar finds it a sacrifice he should consider returning to the private sector rather than suffering on the public dime. Too, I’d be curious to know the role Butts and/or Trudeau played in the hiring and in determining Sarkar’s pay package. As well, why did Butts fail to remind Canadians that Sarkar had lost a bid for a Liberal seat in 2011 and that he had lost a nomination battle in 2015? Sounds like a loser rather than a winner getting rewarded, doesn’t it? But the Liberals have a long history of rewarding their friends, haven’t they?

To me, Trudeau’s biggest failing is that of a man of principle. When it comes to talk, his backbone is in his mouth. As with feminism, when offered an opportunity to respond to Trump’s outrageous comments following the Charlottesville tragedy, he failed to deliver. Instead, he offered this pitiably inadequate tweet: “We condemn it (racists violence and hate) in all its forms & send support to the victims in Charlottesville.” That is it. This is a world leader who spouts all the nice words but when it comes to actually, to actually backing them up, falls far too short. That is the weak-kneed response of a man unwilling or unable to take a principled stand. Or maybe he just doesn’t believe in anything but what’s in it for him.

I expect better of our prime minister. Trudeau is not it. He has proven himself to possess fluid ethics. He is dishonest, as when he lied regarding the Saudi trade deal saying his hands were tied and when he disregards his own mandate regarding conflict of interest. He has broken many, far too many promises with the flimsiest of pretexts and often with outright lies, most notably when walking away from electoral reform. He says he is a feminist. Saying so doesn’t make it so. He is deceitful, smug, and self-aggrandizing. He is an opportunist, who is more interested in the health and welfare of BIG BUSINESS than in the Human Rights he made claim to as a priority. He is all about the symbolic and grand gestures, a showman who will only do the safe leaving risks to his ministers and others. He is a contemptible showboat who appears at all the grand and mostly safe events that have wide appeal but when it comes to really standing up at times that matter, he has proven himself too small, too shallow, and too venal to earn respect least of all mine.

***

But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

***

They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin

 

CANADA’S PHONY PRINCE: JUSTIN TRUDEAU’S WORLD OF HYPOCRISY, LYING, SECRECY AND BETRAYAL

 

Secrecy, being an instrument of conspiracy, ought never to be the system of a regular government. – Jeremy Bentham

Secrecy, once accepted, becomes an addiction. – Edward Teller

Secrecy is the freedom tyrants dream of. – Bill Moyers

Frank A. Pelaschuk

Every once in a while we are reminded that the world of politics often resembles that of fractured fairy tales whereby, for a time, the Handsome Prince and/or the Beautiful Princess appear to be exactly what they offer in the way of promises and hope. Eventually, however, the real world obtrudes and the Handsome Prince and/or Beautiful Princess, so widely loved and highly praised, all too often and with unseemly haste succumb to the lavish blandishments perhaps convinced they are deserving and untouchable and behave in ways truer to their nature and character the public persona peeled away. Now there will be among the adoring public some who have never been swayed by the Handsome Prince and/or Beautiful Princess and there will be others who, over time, may notice a change and see behind the facade what they may have suspected and feared all along: ugly, warty toads. Much of the public may not notice nor even care but those that do may well be repelled by the similar and yet unique features exposed revealing even uglier natures and characters those of Deceit, Venality, Pride, Hypocrisy, Avarice, and Gluttony and all oozing, simply oozing, the stench of corruption.

Those are the real faces of Justin Trudeau and his savage little gang. Oh, the Handsome Prince is still handsome – superficially. Beyond the husk, rot has firmly taken root.

AND THEIR RIGHT HAND IS FULL OF BRIBES

How much does it take to buy a politician? There are those who will say that a politician cannot be bought for $250 or $750 or even $1500. I am not of that crowd. Venality is not new and it has no limit. But when politicians so shamelessly grant private access for cash from eager “donors” with thousands in their fists, even cash from foreign interests, as Christy Clark, premier of BC, oops, now ex-premier, has over the years or when a drug company sponsors a BC Liberal convention or when her Liberal party tops up her premier’s salary with a bonus estimated at over $277K from 2011 to April 2016 for her fundraising efforts, you know she’s doing something the party and Big Business likes and that should be a matter of serious concern for taxpayers. Long ago when questions were raised concerning her fundraising methods, her response was basically this: I can’t be bought. Well, we have to take her at her word, don’t we?

And then there are the excesses of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in that area as well. I have spoken more than once on these issues: Jody Wilson-Raybould’s clear conflict of issue when she, as justice minister, attends a fundraiser sponsored by a prestigious law firm; finance minister Bill Morneau’s forays into fundraising with developers in the east coast; and an event in Toronto organized by Barry Sherman, the chairman of Apotex, a generic drug manufacturer and lobbyist of the government, the same company that provided the sponsorship for the BC Liberal convention of 2016. Sherman withdrew from the event after news became public but Apotex is still a lobbyist to the Trudeau government.

We know whom, sometimes we know who is buying, but can we really claim with certainty to know what is being bought?

Well, influence maybe?

Oh, no, the parties involved will all aver, fingers crossed behind their backs. We can’t be bought. We will be told, and we have been, that those lobbying governments are not allowed to approach MPs regarding business pending interests. Not allowed. Doesn’t happen. We are to take them at their word. Well, sure, why not… if you can’t trust a Liberal who can you trust? Sponsorgate? That was just an unfortunate aberration, can’t, won’t, happen again. Right.

And while it is true all parties fundraise, it is unseemly they do so furtively, in private homes, especially when those in attendance are government cabinet ministers and multi-millionaire even billionaire tycoons representing corporations lobbying governments. Is it really as innocent as the Liberals and Conservatives would have us believe?

Of the many quiet $1500 a plate fundraisers attended by Trudeau, at least 18 of an estimated 100 plus for the Liberals, there was one event in particular that drew interests because of its secrecy and the many Chinese millionaires in attendance some of whom were seeking to do business with the Canadian government. Coincidentally (nudge, nudge), a Chinese businessman in attendance and his business partner donated $1 million to the Pierre Eliot Trudeau Foundation and the University of Montreal Law Faculty after that event. Too, a month later, another coincidence: Wealth One Bank, founded by one of the attendees was granted federal approval to start operations in Canada. While Trudeau originally claimed that no business was ever discussed at these fundraisers, he later recanted admitting to being lobbied and that he and his staff directed the lobbyists to go through the proper channels. If that was the case, why lie in the first place? Well, whatever the reason, Trudeau revealed he could lie with the best of them. But we suspected that anyway, didn’t we? His staffers also claimed that Trudeau did not always know who were attending these events because he would often just “happen” to drop by at these private house gatherings. Again that stretches credulity. Trudeau’s security would certainly not allow him to attend any affair without knowing who were in attendance.

It is not the fundraising that concerns me as much as the cost of attending and, even of more concern, the secrecy surrounding them. How can anyone believe there are no issues of concern when the parties involved behave in secrecy as if they were doing something wrong? Trudeau, Morneau, Jody Wilson-Raybould and the Liberal party have broken Trudeau’s own mandate regarding openness, transparency, appearances of conflict. And it began within months of taking office.

Following months of denying anything untoward regarding these private fundraisers, Trudeau announced that future events would be open and costs to attend would range from $250 to $1500. This move is clearly a move to make it easier for the average Joe or Jane working at Tim Horton’s to attend such events. Well, I provides a mild chuckle. Too, the events would be open to journalists. Well that was a joke. In a recent event held in Ottawa in appreciation of Liberal donors ($1500 a year and $750 for those under 35), journalists were kept in a pen and not allowed to mingle or ask questions other than when guests registered and entered the event. Shades of Stephen Harper! After the speeches, reporters were told to leave. Well, another empty promise, surprise, surprise. But, of course, there would be nothing to report because, as we know, nothing is ever traded in exchange for cash.

Well, when it comes to venality, the Harper gang, Christie Clark and the Liberal gang are not unique. The rot has even tainted city hall as evidenced by reports of Calgary’s mayor, Naheed Nenshi, the first Muslim mayor of a major North American city once voted the best mayor in the world, has his own fundraiser events but at $2000 a plate with strong encouragement to throw in another $3000. That’s a lot of pork. Makes Trudeau look like a piker.

So, yes, we know who’s being wooed, sometimes who is buying but seldom, until far too late, the exchange of any.

But how is it possible that they can and do get away with it and that they do so so openly and shamelessly?

Well, perhaps the political pundits who appear everywhere on the media circuit and write for the press share no small measure of the blame. I have heard too many such luminaries opine that it’s ridiculous to believe that a politician can be bought for $1500 a plate. Really? I would like to ask these worthies what is the price that does buy favour? What does it take to further corrupt a person ripe for corruption? Fill a room with folks wanting the same thing from the government at $1500 a head, say twenty widget salesmen. Well that’s $30,000. And multiply that by the number of fundraisers Trudeau attended last year, about 18 according to some sources. If so, that’s $480,000. Is that enough to buy favour? Now I suspect there are some in this world who cannot be bought at any price. I don’t believe Trudeau or any member of his gang is numbered among them. It is disingenuous, or extremely dangerously naïve, to suggest politician can’t be bought for $1500. One needs only harken back to Bev Oda, a member of Harper’s cabinet, forced to resign for padding her expense tab with a $16 glass of orange juice to be reminded how little it takes to ensnare those easily baited. If a politician will cheat on the small he will certainly cheat on the big and we have experienced questionable behaviour from some of Trudeau’s own ministers and one glaring example from the phony Prince himself. There was health minister Jane Philpott who repaid questionable expenses several times; there was minister of environment and climate change, Catherine McKenna, who hired her own photographer on the public dime while attending a climate conference in Paris already teeming with media photographers. And, of course, there was minister of international trade, Chrystia Freeland, who, instead of returning home on the government plane waiting for her when on a Philippine business trip for the government, made a detour on a commercial plane to appear on a TV talk show in California. To legitimize the cost of the diversion, which cost Canadians over $17K, Freeland apparently met with some Californian dignitaries. And Trudeau? Well, over the Christmas holidays he and close friends vacationed with a long time family friend, the Aga Khan, even accepting a free helicopter ride from the Bahaman mainland to the Aga Khan’s private island. Not only was that a violation of rules governing the acceptance of gifts, it also violates conflict of interest guidelines. Since 2004, Canada has donated $310 million to the Aga Khan foundation with Trudeau pledging another $55 million over the next five years.

Trudeau sees no problem with this or with his fundraising endeavours. Really? And he saw nothing wrong with his justice minister attending a fundraiser sponsored by lawyers. How about you? Do you accept, as Trudeau has, Jody Wilson-Raybould’s explanation that she had attended as a mere MP and not as justice minister? Really?

MERCY’S HUMAN HEART?

Such behaviour, such lowered standards should make one cringe. Is there no shame?

This prime minister and his team are so glib and free and easy. They squeeze truth, acts and ideas that really matter to shapes unrecognizable and then toss them aside as the useless things the have become.

As when he vowed to make Human Rights a priority only to sign of on the light-armoured vehicle trade deal with one of the world’s most egregious Human Rights abuser offering all kinds of justifications for doing so none of them holding water. The previous Harper government had tied his hands. It was already a done deal. Canada would look untrustworthy if it broke the deal. There was no evidence Saudi Arabia would use the LAVs against his own people. He, or his ministers speaking on his behalf, lied on all counts. In going through with the deal, Trudeau broke Canada’s own guidelines governing international arms trading with Human Rights abusers and even breaches UN sanctions against such deals. Human Rights a priority? That’s to laugh. Even now Trudeau is actively seeking to expand trade with China another outrageous Human Rights abuser. But MONEY and BIG DEALS coupled with CANADIAN JOBS talk just as loudly to Trudeau as they did to Harper. Yet, for all his faults, Harper wasn’t a hypocrite in this: he didn’t concern himself with Human Rights when it came to business and its benefits.

Recently, Trudeau has announced that Canada will extend its role of “advise and assist” in the war against ISIS. Yet, when a Canadian sniper gained fame for breaking the record for the longest kill shot, Trudeau, who weeps at every saccharine opportunity especially when there’s a camera around, called the act “something to be celebrated” without a moment’s reflection on the life that bullet erased, he ignored questions by outgoing NDP leader Thomas Mulcair regarding Canada’s real role in Iraq. Is Trudeau even aware that that kill shot puts a lie to the claim that Canada’s role is that of non-combatant? Trudeau wants it all ways and all of them phony. Harjit Sajjan, minister of defence, refused to respond to questions regarding how many times Canadian troops have engaged in battle. He surely knows. Why don’t we?

There is also the matter of Harper’s C-51 anti-terrorism bill and Access of Information Act (AOI). Trudeau campaigned on the promise to make his government better, open and transparent “by default”. It hasn’t worked out that way.

Changes to C-51, condemned almost universally by academics, jurists and legal scholars, renamed C-59, does provide some fixes but not sufficient to alleviate concerns regarding the most troubling aspects of the bill. While the bill does provide for greater oversight of our security agencies with the formation of a National Security and Intelligence Committee made up of MPs and Senators, the PMO has rendered it toothless because it can shut down investigations and withhold documents at any time and without explanation. C-59 does nothing to assure Canadians regarding the sharing of information with other and/or foreign agencies. As to access to information, well, that, too, appears to be another empty promise. Documents obtained by AOI are still if not even more so heavily redacted. Jeremy J. Nuttall, reporting for The Tyee, (June 23, 2017) points out that the changes actually grant the government increased powers to add restrictions to access. Nutall quotes Sean Holman, journalism professor at Mount Royal University: “Governments will now have the power to unilaterally disregard an access to information request if it is vexatious or meets a number of other conditions” (https://thetyee.ca/News/2017/06/23/Trudeau-Liberals-Let-Down-Open-Government/). Scot Brison, president of the Treasury Board, claims the changes allows the Act to apply to the offices of ministers and will provide “proactive” release of information. The problem with that is the PMO decides what information is made public just as it is the PMO that determines what request is “vexatious”. Considering this regime’s propensity for secrecy, very similar to Harper’s, it is doubtful many requests will not be deemed problematic.

Cash-for-access, reporters penned, information heavily blacked out, files on citizens shared, access to information left to the whim of the PMO, citizens routinely spied on, and public watchdog committees tightly controlled and made toothless, again reliant on the yea or nay of the PMO. This is the reality of Trudeau’s promise of newer, better.

CRY ME A RIVER

Trudeau is a blowhard, a phony with an endless supply of Kleenex to wipe away the affected tears he and his wife can call up in an instant as they, oozing, simply ooooozing, sincerity, tap their right hand fingers over their hearts for whatever and all occasions as needed their brows furrowed and lips quavering and eyes squeezing out tears as many as needed for the occasion but careful, don’t overdo it.

Oh, he is loud with the grand gestures and the symbolic touches, the handkerchief dabbed at the corner of the eye. Look at the make up of his cabinet, both genders equally represented with women placed in major ministries. Oh, yeah, he’s big on feminism but when given opportunity twice as he campaigned and several times since to stand up and call out Trump’s buffoonery and misogyny, he opts to remain mute too cowardly to do the right, decent thing because, as with his stand on Human Rights, it’s all about business, fear of offending the red-headed freak south of us. He’s a feminist as long as he doesn’t have to prove it.

The same seems to be with the committee cobbled together to look into the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls tragedy. We know it’s been formed but as of yet, it appears to be hopelessly mired in – what? What the hell is happening to it? It’s fine as a symbol but, thus far, useless for convincing one that anything is, has been or will be accomplished. How much longer must those surviving family members wait?

Oh, he’s big on the symbolic. On National Aboriginal Day this year, he promised to rename the day National Indigenous Peoples Day and to remove the name of a residential school proponent. He has declared a downtown Ottawa heritage building and former US embassy to be home to Inuit, Métis and First Nations People in the “hope that this historic building will be a powerful symbol of the foundational role of indigenous peoples in Canada’s history” (Kathleen Harris, CBC News, June 21, 2017). On June 19, 2017, Trudeau and his wife, while honouring outstanding Indigenous Leadership at Rideau Hall, wept, no surprise there, to a moving speech by singer/actor/activist Tom Jackson. And when First Nations Activists set up a tepee on Parliament Hill, Trudeau visited them June 30, 2017 and spent 40 minutes with them; for some observers, that was a powerful gesture. But a gesture only. Trudeau offers too many such, most of them empty when what the First Nations community really needs is action, action in ensuring that Indigenous communities have access to fresh, clean, safe drinking water, that they also have affordable housing, that their children be given every opportunity to access education, job training and jobs. Surely Indigenous communities are tired of words and symbols; they need help in concrete ways to end the vicious cycles of poverty, addiction, abuse, and teenage and adult suicides. Trudeau says he understands the impatience of the Indigenous people and that he is impatient himself. Those are words. What has Trudeau and his Liberals really done for the community he panders to with such grand, empty gestures?

SHELL GAME

Among the empty promises was that of putting an end to omnibus bills. Didn’t happen. Instead he offers a budget bill, which includes a bill for the creation of the Infrastructure Bank with limited debate and no consultation two other practices he said would end. He lied, of course, for that is what Trudeau does – with a smile. This so-called infrastructure bank is just another way of privatizing infrastructure work, projects and highways with tolls for who knows how long collected by companies that, seeing a huge windfall in the cash cow they see in government, will suck the country dry with massive cost overages as always happens when profiteers work for the government. When the Senate held back the legislation for a bit, Trudeau, who had booted the Liberal Senators from the Liberal caucus with one of his many grand gestures saying he wanted a truly independent Senate, began to whine that it had no right to impinge on the PMO’s territory when Senators began to flex their muscles. True, the Senate cannot make money bills but it can make amendments. The bill passed after much whinging from Trudeau and gang; the phony wants it both ways, an independent Senate that does what he tells them.

Can Trudeau be trusted with anything? Doubtful. Recently, the Liberals had sought to appoint as language commissioner Madeleine Meilleur. The appointment, announced by heritage minister Mélanie Joly who at one time worked for Meilleur a long serving Liberal MPP and Liberal donor, was made without consultation of opposition members as required and clearly breaches conflict of interest guidelines. No matter, the Trudeau gang pushed back until Meilleur, having had enough, withdrew. It’s a small thing but telling for it shows how willing the Liberals are to reward and protect friends.

One such is John Herhalt. Herhalt, a senior partner of KPMG, Global Chair of Government and Infrastructure and high-ranking Liberal volunteer had been appointed last June to the National Board of the Liberal party as Treasurer that includes Trudeau and his principle secretary and life–long friend, Gerald Butts, at a time when KPMG was under investigation by a Liberal dominated parliamentary committee over its role in the offshore investment scam involving shell companies set up in the Isle of Man. Herhalt said he had retired from KPMG in 2013 but in June of 2016 he was working contracts for KPMG and using a KPMG email address. The committee shut down the testimony of independent witnesses critical of KPMG (remember, this was a Liberal-dominated committee). Only after they promised not to bring KPMG into their testimony, were the witnesses allowed to testify which seems a ludicrous exercise since it was KPMG that was being investigated. Was Herhalt’s appointment a breach of ethics as well as a breach of conflict of interest regulations? You bet it was. For those interested, wishing to know more, I highly recommend CBC’s Fifth Estate’s program regarding off-shore tax avoidance scams and the role played by KPMG (http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/episodes/2016-2017/kpmg-and-tax-havens-for-the-rich-the-untouchables).

While Trudeau has proven himself a toad of ugly aspects in so many ways, his behaviour in handling electoral reform must surely be among his most offensive. It was he who made a great show of declaring 2015 the last first-past-the-post election. We know how that worked. In every aspect of handling that matter, Trudeau proved himself deceitful. He sought originally to rig the committee to weigh the vote in favour of the Liberals. When that failed, he loudly mused that Canadians did not see electoral reform as a priority. By then, it was clear that the exercise would fail because the committee was not about to recommend Trudeau’s preferred choice, that of the ranked ballot voting system. Trudeau replaced rookie democratic minister Maryam Monself who had denounced the work of the reform committee as careless and hasty with another young rookie MP, Karina Gould. It was left to Gould to declare electoral reform, which was Trudeau’s baby from the first, dead as a doornail. Trudeau didn’t even have the guts to kill the project to which he had given birth. Shortly after that, home from the holidays and his free helicopter ride, he did a cross-country coffee tour talking to Canadians in hope of refurbishing his image. During one of those events he not only bragged about feeling good on turning his back on reform, he claimed that the preferred choice suggested by the committee invited the election of terrorists and could lead to a terrorist lead government. During a June 27, 2017 press conference, he repeated that canard saying PR would be bad for Canada. “I think creating fragmentation amongst political parties, as opposed to having larger political parties that include Canada’s diversity within them, would weaken our country” (Brian Platt, Ottawa Citizen, June 28, 2017). Absolute rubbish. A form of proportional representation is used, and very effectively, by most of the Western democracies. He continued, “Unfortunately, it became very clear that we had a preference to give people a ranked ballot… We thought that was the right, concrete way forward. Nobody else agreed. The NDP were anchored in proportional representation as being the only way forward” He went on to say the Conservatives wanted to keep the “status quo”. That was revisionism worthy of the Conservatives under Harper: blame the NDP and Conservatives. He then went on to claim that his preference for ranked ballot was well known. When he made his pitch for electoral reform, he had not declared his preference at the time. In fact, while it was true that in 2013 and 2014 he may have spoken in support of that system, he did not do so at any time while campaigning that I can recall. His was an act of deceit by omission. Anyone familiar with the system of ranked balloting would know it tends to favour those in the centre. In other words, it is Trudeau and the Conservatives who would maintain the status quo.

Shallow, prone to big gestures and fine symbols, Trudeau is everything he sought to convince voters he was not. Nothing of real moral substance differentiates him or his gang from the Stephen Harper gang voters repudiated. Trudeau is a half person who will be exactly what you want him to be as long as it oozes, simply oozes sincerity and charm and is saccharine enough to allow for tears to be called up in an instant. There is the other half, of course, the truer Trudeau, the hard-edged, cynical, scheming, dishonest, deceitful, lying Trudeau that is shameless in its hypocrisy and smarmy manipulative guile. He is neither a truthful nor a courageous man. He is a man of no moral resolution or conviction but, rather, more attuned to the interests of Big Business than to the feminism he espouses but will not defend or to the Human Rights he has made a priority and yet upon which he has turned his back.

As Canada celebrates its 150th birthday, Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau will have taken centre stage, where else, hosting the midday festivities. Just remember this: 70% of the $2 million in trinkets and gewgaws Canada spent to celebrate the day, the baseball caps, flags, pins etc. that will be handed out, were manufactured outside of Canada. That about sums up Trudeau: he is loud promises and grand symbols. Just another chintzy politico.

**

But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

***

They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin

 

LIBERALS VS. CONSERVATIVES: TRUDEAU MASTERS THE RACE OF HYPOCRISY AND SINCERITY

Conservative, n. a statesman who is enamoured of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others. – Ambrose Bierce

A man’s reputation is the opinion people have of him; his character is what he really is. – Jack Miner

Frank A. Pelaschuk

If anyone wishes to look upon the faces of practiced liars and hypocrites, one has only to look at those sitting in Parliament Hill. The Liars and Hypocrites far outnumber the Truthful and the Forthright and, of those, the preponderance from the only two parties that have ever formed governments of Canada. In recent years, those elected to represent us have proven themselves particularly untrustworthy, petty, mean-spirited, and vindictive, more representative of sewer rats than those who append the word Honourable as part of their title as MPs. The Trudeau Liberals, from whom I expected little, who replaced the stale, bitter, spiteful Harper gang, from whom I expected even less, may be even more offensive. More offensive because they demonstrated little hesitation in appealing to and milking the best in us while campaigning only to betray, very early in their mandate, the highs hopes, the grand promises and extremely high expectations that lured the truly hopeful as well as those mistrustful of politicians and those fair-weather types who, with the least amount of effort and thought and holding to no conviction but the tenet of “what’s in it for me”, vote for those who promise most in the way of shiny trinkets. The Liberals and Conservatives have been immensely successful for 150 years with the same formula the voters acting as if the bargain promises and sparkly trinkets singular. The past election is just another nail of proof, and a mirror of the election before, that it only takes 39% of the vote to form majority governments, with two different parties, the same as always, with over 50% of the seats the public apparently content to cede absolute control to likeminded groups whose only real concern appears to be planning for the next election victory with the same old lies, same empty promises and voters of the same stunning parochialism. The NDP may well have its share of liars and hypocrites but having never formed a federal government it has been denied the same opportunity granted the other two parties to abuse its privileges and all that that entails including the tyranny of the majority.

I have said more than once politics is a dirty game. I was wrong; it’s not a game and it’s the people who are dirty.

THE SWEETNESS OF SCHADENFREUDE

Recently, Canadians have been treated, if that’s the word, to the sad spectacle of salivating opposition members happily savaging a government member of Parliament and cabinet minister with a stellar record in the military who, for whatever reason, sought to enhance his image by embellishing his role during three tours in Afghanistan as an intelligence officer. In doing so, Liberal Harjit Sajjan, defence minster, stained his reputation and set loose the dogs of opposition baying for his resignation with accusations that his behaviour was tantamount to an act of “stolen valour”, i.e., claiming experiences and honours not earned. That charge is too much and, I believe, unfair. It was not enough to simply witness his humiliation; the Conservatives in particular wanted blood the thirst seemingly fuelled by his own inept apology if that was what he had offered.

A few weeks before, while giving a speech in New Delhi, the defence minister spoke of his role in Afghanistan as “the architect” of Operation Medusa, a major 2006 battle, which resulted in Canadian and British casualties and led to a severe setback for the Taliban. He had made a similar claim during the 2015 election campaign. It just wasn’t so. When the matter became public, Sajjan said he had made a “mistake”. His boss, Justin Trudeau, and fellow Liberals have loyally defended him, for how long who knows, repeating that line as if it were defence enough: Sajjan had made a “mistake”.

Well, no, it was not a mistake. It was a lie, a foolish, very damaging lie and, on the surface, completely inexplicable because apparently so out of character; there seemed no reason for Harjit Sajjan to pad his CV. Yet he had and because he had, the frenzied dogs of hypocrisy are after him bared teeth dripping saliva. But, even as I write this, there appears to be signs government support is waning.

There may be good reason, after all.

In light of his lie, the NDP had asked the Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson to reopen an investigation into another matter although her first look into that issue hardly warrants the decorous label of “investigation”. In 2016, defeated NDP MP Craig Scott put forth an e-petition to investigate Canada’s role in transferring suspected Taliban detainees to Afghan authorities while aware of the likelihood they would be tortured. This happened while Sajjan was in the region; should an investigation take place there was a strong possibility he would be called upon to testify. To no one’s surprise, defence minister Sajjan turned down the petition with the explanation that Canada had obeyed international law and that the Military Police Complaints Commission had already investigated and found no wrongdoing. Scott, not satisfied, wrote Mary Dawson suggesting that in turning down his petition, Sajjan was in conflict of interest because of his role as liaison officer with the Afghan police at the time this happened. Dawson looked into the matter speaking to the defence minister and appeared confident he had no knowledge of the allege abuses of detainees. She had not called for any other witnesses apparently satisfied that Sajjan’s word was enough and the matter was dropped. The Liberals were relieved. Remember, this was the same party who had as opposition members repeatedly, loudly and fiercely supported NDP calls for such investigations since 2009 following former Canadian diplomat Richard Colvin’s testimony (for which he endured a smear job by the Conservative government) to the torture of Afghan prisoners. That should have been it but, in light of Sajjan’s “whopper” as Thomas Mulcair called it, the NDP is seeking to have the matter reopened. The Liberal government, however, has made it amply clear that it is no longer interested in the detainee affair. Funny, isn’t it, how a shift in the balance of power changes one’s perspective and diminishes one’s outrage leading parties and politicos to easily swap and adopt positions with the same sincerity as they proposed or opposed them. Hypocrisy has many faces and all of them shameless.

There is no question Sajjan had lied and that his apology, a mumbled iteration of “I made a mistake” without explanation as to why, is clearly inadequate. Yet, watching him squirm day after day during Question Period should provide no pleasure to anyone but a sadist especially as some of the loudest apparently most offended had themselves, as members of the Harper gang, demonstrated a clear capacity for disgraceful conduct. That is not to absolve the defence minister but to remind others we all carry baggage and, as sinners, often all too eager to demand from others what we will not of ourselves. Over ten years ago, the Liberals were booted out of office for corruption. They were replaced by a government that was mean, spiteful, punitive, and secretive, many members of whom proved unethical, deceitful, and dishonest, more interested in the health and welfare of special interest groups and clinging to power than in playing the role of actual governance for the well-being and interests of all Canadians. The players have merely changed ends.

UGLY FACES OF HYPOCRISY

We have had Conservatives Kellie Leitch and Chris Alexander, Conservative leadership contenders, playing the racial and religious intolerance card on behalf of the Conservative party during the last election with the vile Barbaric Cultural Practices snitch line, Stephen Harper, prime minister, and Peter MacKay, justice minister, seeking to smear a Supreme Court Justice for daring to comment on their preferred, and failed, candidate to Canada’s Highest Court. And we had those two again engaging in smear jobs taking particular delight in targeting and seeking to tarnish the reputation of the previous Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page simply for doing his job in attempting to hold the Harper regime accountable for the management (and mismanagement) of public funds. When Page challenged the government’s cost estimates for the purchase of new fighter jets, the F-35’s, to replace aging and out-dated equipment, Stephen Harper and then defence minister Peter MacKay attacked Page by questioning his credentials and refusing to hand over documents supporting their figures. And, of course, we cannot forget Peter Mackay’s commandeering of a search and rescue helicopter while on vacation with lobbyists. We have had the Conservatives seeking to rig elections with the so-called Fair Elections Act. We have the Trudeau Liberals undermining and killing their own platform promise of electoral reform and betraying in fact and spirit Trudeau’s own mandate to his ministers of a government “…committed to an open, honest government that is accountable to Canadians, lives up to the highest ethical standards, and applies the utmost care and prudence in the handling of public funds. I expect you to embody these values in your work and observe the highest ethical standards in everything you do. When dealing with our Cabinet colleagues, Parliament, stakeholders, or the public, it is important that your behaviour and decisions meet Canadians’ well-founded expectations of our government. I want Canadians to look on their own government with pride and trust.

As Minister, you must ensure that you are aware of and fully compliant with the Conflict of Interest Act and Treasury Board policies and guidelines.”

Nice words but empty demanded by a prime minister who is interested only in surface, in what looks or sounds good for the eye or ear to a man more interested in grandstanding than grand stands. When the leader gives up on his own high-toned words, why should his colleagues not do the same? Little rings as hollow as the hollow promises of a shallow showboat looking and posing for the cameras.

We have witnessed the embarrassment of Harjit Sajjan and I am convinced he is truly embarrassed. Shortly after the 2015 election, in April of 2016, Kellie Leitch shed tears on CBC’s Power and Politics for her role in the snitch line debacle, but they were not tears of atonement, nor tears of admission to wrongdoing. They were just tears of self-pity. Today she is running for the leadership talking of interviewing immigrants and refugees for “Canadian values”. Hers was the values of racial and religious intolerance that targeted Muslims and cost the Conservatives last election. So, think she’s changed?

That Sajjan continues to insist on calling his embellishment a mere “mistake”, however, diminishes one’s desire for empathy. It isn’t easy to witness the downfall of anyone who, from all accounts, has served his nation well. But what is so difficult about owning up to stupidity, to the folly of vanity, to seeking to burnish an image already bright enough? We all exaggerate and when caught simply feel foolish as we ought if we are able to experience shame; if wise, we admit it and move on bruised but not too badly damaged for the public seems to suffer from a quick forgettery. It’s the failure to recognize ourselves as foolish, prone to mistakes and often ordinary that hurts. Watching Sajjan twisting while his opposition members call for his head is difficult because I believe his embarrassment. But I also believe he should resign not because Conservatives and New Democrats are calling for his head but because it is the right thing to do. His was a foolish, unnecessary lie, but it was not insignificant; from his stricken expression, it is evident Harjit Sajjan knows it.

SCHADENFREUDE’S STING

Now, I have little patience for liars and even less for hypocrites and preening peacocks who are all talk and strut but little else. Some of the Conservatives calling for Sajjan’s head were major players during Harper regime’s reign of error lasting almost a decade. It was a regime that lied about almost everything, abused its majority with numerous attempts to slip legislation into omnibus bills, limit debate and failing to consult with the opposition Liberals and NDP members. The Harper gang routinely undermined the electoral process engaging in the so-called “in-out” scams to divert monies from one riding to another, employing robocalls to divert voters to non-existent polls, and seeking to limit the powers of Elections Canada to investigate electoral fraud by making the agency accountable to the government rather than parliament. Conservative Rona Ambrose slammed Sajjan and the Liberals for disrespecting our military men and women the same charge the opposition Liberals levelled against the Conservatives for closing nine Veterans Affairs offices and replacing the life long disability pensions of veterans to one-time lump sum payments. Of course, now in power, having reopened many of the veterans’ offices, the Liberals nevertheless failed to follow through with their promise to restore the life long disability pensions; instead, they offered a lump of coal by only increasing the amount of the one-time lump. Conservatives such as Cheryl Gallant and James Bezan, eyes red and mouths spitting fury, went after Sajjan with a vengeance. There was Bezan questioning Sajjan’s integrity, opining, “…the minister knows there are consequences for being dishonest and untrustworthy under the military’s code of conduct and ethics…” In politics as well, Mr. Bezan. This is the MP who, along with then member Shelly Glover, had been recommended for suspension by Marc Mayrand, chief electoral officer of Elections Canada for failing to submit a full report of campaign expenses. Andrew Scheer, then Speaker of the House and now Conservative leadership contender, had sat on the recommendation for a couple of weeks failing to inform members of parliament, as was his duty. Scheer refused to suspend both Conservative members even though the Elections Act calls for such measures when election rules are broken by those running for office saying he would wait for a decision by the courts to the appeals made by Glover and Bezan. By then, it didn’t matter, Harper, as was his wont, had prorogued Parliament for the fourth time. But there was Scheer and the rest in the House now demanding the defence minister resign. Glover, who decided not to run in 2015, would go on to other troubles appearing at secret fundraising events attended by those who stood to gain from decisions made by her department one of which was caught on camera leading her to refund those who donated.

Cheryl Gallant, another Conservative calling for Sajjan’s head, is another type of fish and, to my mind, a more offensive type, a venomous mean-mouthed MP who suffers from a history of histrionics, intolerance, pettiness and just plain meanness. In 2002 she displayed her anti-gay biases when she repeatedly attacked then minister of foreign affairs Bill Graham during Question Period with such witticisms as “Ask your boyfriend” and “How’s your boyfriend?” In 2004, Gallant again opposed an amendment to Bill C-250 in the criminal code meant to protect sexual orientation against gay bashers saying that such an amendment would limit freedom of expression and make the Bible “hate literature”. But, this being a stupid person, Gallant wasn’t done; the same year, while campaigning, she compared abortion to the brutal murder of Iraqi hostage Nick Berg by beheading and then suggested at another time the Liberals were persecuting “Christians”. During the 2011 campaign, she once called then Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff “Ignaffi”, a clear reference to Libyan dictator Mommar Khadaffi. In 2016, seeing an opportunity to be exploited, she shamelessly used the death of Corporal Nathan Cirillo, murdered in the attack on Parliament Hill, to raise money for her campaign. She has claimed that PTSD is fake and that the Rideau Institute, a foreign policy think tank of having links to Russia, Iran, and North Korea “because a drop-down menu on the institute’s donation page allows users to select those countries as a place of origin” (Amanda Connolly, iPolitics, May 14, 2016). During Question Period she had said Sajjan was only “sorry after he was caught”. This is risible coming from one called upon to apologize in the House numerous times. While she may be forgiven her incredible stupidity, she cannot be her bigotry, meanness and hypocrisy. After recently slamming the defence minster, Gallant forcefully and theatrically plumped herself into her seat with an expression of great moral indignation and rolling of eyes that not only had me laughing but also suspecting she had practiced that look before a mirror many times in hopes of being offered the opportunity to showcase her acting skills. She’s just a bad actor. Period.

But not just Gallant or the Conservatives. The Liberals have demonstrated that they are equally adept at embracing diametrically opposing beliefs with the same sincerity and/or outrage.

When Trudeau and gang failed in their attempt to rig the electoral reform committee and eventually realized Trudeau’s preferred choice of ranked balloting would not be recommended, the Liberals worked towards undermining the committee’s work and the reform itself by claiming their was no great demand from the public for electoral reform and by directly attacking the efforts of the committee members. When Trudeau made that particular promise, he did so in bad faith. When the committee finally submitted its final report and recommendation for a form of proportional representation, Trudeau killed electoral reform offering several reasons, none of which were valid and one inexcusably vile. First, he claimed there was no “consensus”. That wasn’t true. The committee had made a recommendation. He also suggested that moving towards a proportional representative system would lead to “extremists” becoming members of parliament and, possibly, forming extremist governments. This from a man of putative intelligence! A vast majority of Western nations successfully employ a form of proportional representation. Trudeau’s statement was that of a liar or a buffoon and an ignoramus from the school of Donald Trump. Not achieving from the committee his preferred choice of election system, he was too cowardly to follow through with a commitment that, if accepted and the recommendation adopted, would have almost certainly fulfilled his avowed commitment to fair, open, and transparent governance in the future. But Trudeau is a phony, all show and glitz, and he did as phonies do; he had two junior ministers work the department, undermining the first, letting the second announce the killing of electoral reform and then, himself, offered excuses and outright lies for the demise of mock effort.

But wearing two or more faces, all false, are not unique in politics and certainly not for Justin Trudeau.

When the Harper gang rammed through the so-called Fair Elections Act, the opposition were quick to protest none screaming louder than Trudeau’s Liberals. And that was the right thing to do because Harper and gang were seeking to rig future elections.

However, last year, perhaps suffering from some form of fugue state, the Liberals introduced Motion-6, which was simply a power grab worthy of Harper to limit opposition debate. On Sunday, April 30, 2017, Trudeau’s gang put forth sweeping rule changes regarding how the House was to run claiming the move necessary for purposes of efficiency. Utter rot. The move, opposed by all opposition members and even some Liberal backbenchers was to fulfill commitments to promises made during the last election. Well, that was the line put forth by Trudeau and Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and of small businesses and tourism. Again, utter rot.

As Power and Politics host Rosemary Barton pointed out, the government seems willing to honour some promises (the reopening of Veterans Affairs Offices) and yet let others die (electoral reform, re-instatement of life-long disability pensions for veterans, honesty, transparency, etc. etc.). Chagger ignored that question saying that the government was open to the opposition and willing to meet with them only to immediately negate that avowal by stating the reforms were going ahead regardless. Which begs the question Barton posed: What is the point of meeting with the opposition if the decision has been made?

The reforms, some of which are even acceptable, appear primarily concerned with weakening the ability of opposition to do its job of holding accountable the Liberal government with its massive majority. The tactics employed by the Liberals is much the same as Harper’s and with the same goal, to silence and squelch opposition voices and to undermine democracy. It was Harper who routinely, without opposition input, rammed through legislation by hiding them in omnibus bills, invoked debate time limits, closure, and prorogation of parliament. The Liberals seem determined to follow Harper’s lead.

The changes proposed have been loudly condemned by the opposition not only as an unseemly power grab, which it is, but also for the government’s failure to consult and seek consensus, as has been the norm. Trudeau’s avowal of openness and transparency, his promises of consultation and disclosure, were showy bagatelles nothing, absolutely nothing, more.

For now, it is true, the Liberals have dropped advance time allotments to debate and committee studies of bills, set aside a limit of comments by MPs during committee hearings to 10 minutes (leading Chagger to warn that government will be “forced” to impose time limits. Different from Harper? How?), dropping the proposal to test electronic voting in the Commons thus forcing MPs to continue standing — heaven forefend! — as they vote, and deferring the move to end Friday sittings. What stays is the following: Wednesday Question Periods will be allocated to Trudeau who will answer all questions for all his ministers (shades of Stephen Harper). He may or may not appear in the House other days. When he does show up (last year, according to the Huffington Post, he missed 69 of 118 sessions) Trudeau has continued with the tradition perfected by Harper, answering questions with non-answers repeatedly with almost the same words regardless of how the question is posed. The Speaker will be allowed to give more time for questions and answers (a good move) and he will be able to challenge questions put forth by MPs (how about challenging the non-answers from government members?). Perhaps the speaker will bring an end to MPs reading from scripts and all members, including the PM compelled to actually answer the question posed. The Liberals who had used an omnibus bill for its last budget, proposes to curtail the improper uses of such bills. Right. The rules would also require the government upon returning to the House after the imposition of prorogation to explain its reasons for the move with the report to be subject to study and Commons debate (Harper used prorogation several times to avoid tough questions and close scrutiny). The Liberal move is good if honoured but I suspect it will be mere window dressing and of no more value than that. Liberals also propose better oversight of taxpayers’ dollars but that is one proposal that is highly dubious and likely to feed public cynicism. As noted above, the Harper gang did not hesitate to go after the Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page simply for doing his job. Both the Liberals and NDP were incensed at the time by Harpers continued efforts to undermine the integrity of the individual and the office. Well, the worm, and I do mean worm, has turned, Harper’s gone and there’s Trudeau seeking to do exactly what the Liberals condemned by Harper, i.e., restrict scrutiny of public finances and to hold government accountable. One way of doing that is by making the reports public. Last month, the Trudeau Liberals introduced measures to limit the PBO’s power to initiate reports and of MPs (presumably opposition members) to request estimates. As reported by Andy Blatchford, for the National Post (Ottawa Citizen, May 4, 2017), the government would impose controls on the PBO by the House of Commons and Senate Speakers. As well, the PBO would be required to cost election promises by political parties thereby diverting its resources and undermining its perceived independence. As well, it would be required to submit it’s plans for the year for approval to the Speakers of the House of Commons and the Senate thereby allowing these bodies to engage in efforts to forestall future investigations that may prove embarrassing and to restrict the ability of the PBO to investigate any new questionable behaviour that could derail government initiatives. Too, the PBO would not be allowed to make any reports public until a day after they were submitted to the Speakers of both Houses or to the parliamentary committee requesting the research.

Are these really the actions of a fair, open and transparent government?

Trudeau and Chagger have demonstrated that when it comes to saying and doing, they will lie and do as any unethical politico will. They have employed omnibus bills to slip in legislation; they have flouted conflict of interest rules, engaged routinely in secretive access-for-cash fundraisers, lied routinely, accepted gifts from millionaires, and padded expense claims. Just this week Trudeau has resumed his cash-for-access meetings with a few changes but not enough to convince me that everything is on the up-and-up. The fundraisers will be open to any member of the public able to pay $250 to the maximum allowable, $1500. They will be held in public places when Trudeau or ministers are in attendance, they will be announced in advance and the media will be allowed to attend and disclose the guest list within 45 days after the event. Sounds good and seems to have convinced Rosemary Barton of CBC’s Power and Politics that $250 cannot buy a vote. I don’t know if that’s true. If 300 widget salesmen attended for $250, that would bring $75K to the fundraiser. If 50 bankers attended the same meeting for $1500, that would bring in the same dollars. But imagine 300 lobbyists with similar interests at $1500. Anyone favour can be bought and I suspect from politicians more easily than some.

If politics is a dirty game its because of those who run for office for parties who have governed this nation far too long. They have become lazy and complacent more self-interest than nation-interested; their primary concern appears to be the getting of power and then clinging to it. And when they do form governments, particularly when they form majority governments, they make and changes laws that work best for them and those to whom they are beholden. They care absolutely nothing about you or me and all they want from us is our vote. They do not want reminders of their hypocrisy, of their dishonesty, of their dipping into the public trough; they want even less to hear from us that we expect honesty, decency, fairness, justice, and the ability to experience shame or that they work for the interests of all Canadians. They will not say so, but it is not for the interests of Canadians they work but themselves and those to whom they owe. They do not want our thoughts, our wisdom or our abilities except in how well they can best serve their needs. They will gladly accept our donations and our labour but not our opinions. We are ancillary to their needs.

Yes, Trudeau is a different man from Stephen Harper and, seeing him operate and knowing that he still rides high in the polls, a much more dangerous man. He is surface, with a brilliant smile and a killer’s heart. He is all too willing to appeal to those enamoured with the gloss and glitz and with short attention spans and little depth and seems to have little interest in standing up, truly standing up, for what he claims to believe. So, in what does he believe? He believes in enriching the Liberal party fortunes and in secret back room meetings and the privatization of infrastructure works projects that will cost Canadians even more as free enterprisers freely milk the public cash cow, perhaps some of them recipients of one of the 600 Broadway tickets for “Come From Away” paid for by Canadian taxpayers.

When he campaigned, he talked loudly and grandly and promised so much. It was chimera, smoke and mirrors. Poof! Nothing there.

But he’s not alone. There is a sewer full of those just like him.

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But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

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They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin

THE PEACOCK PRINCE AND THE HOPE THAT NEVER WAS: JUST ANOTHER SLIMY POLITICO

Modesty is the only sure bait when you angle for praise. – G.K. Chesterton

Power corrupts the few, while weakness corrupts the many. – Eric Hoffer

Frank Pelaschuk

For diehard Liberal supporters, Justin Trudeau was the swaggering handsome young prince who would sweep the party back into office where they belonged with his charm and many loud grand promises of real change, of newer, better and brighter in the way of honesty, consultation, openness and transparency. The diehard Liberals likely didn’t believe that part, they know the party and its people too well but they did believe in Trudeau, he was a winner and that’s what matters in the end. For the young voters, they saw in Trudeau not only the son of a one-time political star but also a star in his own right; he was young, confident, he had the words and god he was handsome, graceful, with a beautiful wife and kids and there was no doubt, no doubt at all, he was a winner and that’s all that matters in the end.

THE PEACOCK STRIKES

Oh the promises were many and grand. In all, there were over 200 promises (according to the non-partisan TrudeauMetre.ca website); among them he would: make 2015 the last first-past-the-post election (dead); make Human Rights a priority (only when convenient and when it doesn’t conflict with trade deals); amend the Access of Information Act so that all government date was made “open by default” (pending, likely will not happen); unmuzzle government scientists (done); gender parity in cabinet (done); restore the long-form census (done); ban partisan ads (pending, likely will not happen); provide resources for Elections Canada to investigate electoral fraud and other abuses (pending, likely will not happen); eliminate omnibus bills (doubtful, some claim recent Budget is an omnibus bill); restore the right of the Commissioner of Elections Canada to report and be accountable to Parliament and not to the government (removed by the Harper Conservatives, may happen but doubtful); review spending limits of political parties during and between elections (will not happen); restore home mail delivery (dead); introduce pay equity (will happen just in time for next election); restore life long disability pensions for veterans (did not happen though he did increase one-time lump sum payment); reopen nine Veterans Affairs offices closed by Liberals (done and/or pending); bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees in timely fashion (done if delayed by a few months); run deficit of $10 billion (done, but tripled to $30 billion); legalize marijuana (done); restore age of OAS eligibility to 65 (done); amend Harper’s anti-terrorism bill C-51 (dead, powers to spy on Canadians and share information with foreign security agencies increased); reduce taxes for those earning between $45K and $90K (done, cut by 1.5 percent; Trudeau was all about the middle class but never heard him talk much, if at all, about homelessness, education, the plight of the young and elderly).

To voters hearing them for the first time, many of the promises were appealing particularly pot for the young, pay equity for women, and electoral reform for those who believe democracy is less about outcomes of votes than the fairness of the outcomes; in this, our present system fails. On the surface, just with the few examples above, Trudeau seems to have done not too badly. Unfortunately, those promises kept were relatively easy because largely supported by the public as with the Syrian refugees, reopened Veterans Affairs Offices and legalization of pot. It’s where he fails that is significant. If anything, Trudeau is mostly surface, candy for the eyes and ears that appeal to the easily distracted and those who want only to hear what appeals and conforms to their worldview; challenges, a different point of view, hearing the other out rather than shouting them down, embracing new contrary ideas, and stepping out of one’s comfort zone are too difficult requiring the ability to empathize and exert the energy of actually having to think. Beneath the surface, under all that Trudeau charm, that dazzling, smirking smile, and that cloying, oozing, simply oozing sincerity, lies something much darker, a calculator, a schemer willing to demonstrate, when it suits his purpose and promises gain, a ruthless edge with the occasional bloody gesture meant to burnish his image as one not shy of revealing his mettle. He did that when, in January 2016, as one of his first acts, he publicly, and loudly, expelled Liberal senators from the Liberal caucus. As far as he was concerned, the Liberal senators would now sit as independents. As if declaring a thing makes it so. It was a clever exhibition, a bold, unexpected, and public show that stunned senators and observers alike and informed the world that Trudeau was more than a pretty face with hair. It was a gesture that played well but didn’t mean much except to his fans who became legion following his 2012 whupping of Senator Patrick Brazeau in a charity boxing match and the photo-op of him performing the yoga Peacock Pose. The expulsion of the senators provided further affirmation of Trudeau as an action figure super hero.

If he was capable of surprising with ruthless efficiency, he was also, that January, able to surprise again with his appointment of neophyte MP Maryam Monsef, as minister of democratic institutions and placing in her hands the matter of electoral reform which he had affirmed would go ahead. But, it was in May of 2016, there occurred two troubling events that may have alerted some to the darker side of Trudeau as a sneak and plotter less interested in the power of democracy than of the power of victory. What happened then did not and does not bode well for Canadians or for Canadian democracy.

Motion 6, introduced by then Liberal House leader Dominic LeBlanc without fanfare and limited, if any, real consultation was a Liberal attempt to seize control of the House, as if his majority wasn’t enough, by weakening the tools of opposition members to debate, filibuster or force a surprise vote to catch governments flatfooted as the NDP had days before when they put forward an amendment to another bill which left the Liberals scrambling to find enough members to defeat the amendment. Motion 6 was eventually dropped but not after a raucous fracas on the floor of the House which led Trudeau to swagger across the floor and inadvertently elbow a female NDP member in the chest as he manhandled opposition whip Gord Brown by grabbing him by the arm to drag him to his seat in hopes, Trudeau said, of speeding up the vote on Bill-14, the physician-assisted dying legislation being delayed by MPs milling about the House floor. For that incident, Trudeau rightly apologized…twice…but the apologies had less, I suspect, to do with the bill or the manhandling of the two MPs than with seeking to restore the public’s perception of him as a fine, extremely likeable young man rather than the impatient, strutting, bullying peacock to which the world was treated. He may have lost that power grab but it gave Canadians, if they were paying attention or even interested, the first real hint of what governance and democracy meant to Trudeau and his gang and it was not all that dissimilar from Stephen Harper’s and the Conservatives: control, fulfilling the agenda, power, and the keeping of that power.

Rigging the game has nothing to do with democracy. Trudeau was just getting started.

The second occurrence that May was the announcement by Monsef regarding the formation of the Electoral Reform Committee. It began simply enough but not so innocently with disclosure of the committee makeup: 6 Liberals, 3 Conservatives, 1 NDP member and 1 each from the Green and Bloc parties with non-voting rights. The opposition and public outcry was instant and loud for it appeared to confirm what the sceptics had been saying for some time: electoral reform would not happen or happen only if the outcome supported Trudeau’s preferred choice: the formation of a Liberal dominated committee was his effort to make that outcome happen.

Unfortunately for the Liberals, public fury proved too much, they retreated rejigging the committee in June 2016 to more closely reflect the popular vote granting the Green and Bloc parties a vote each, increasing the NDP vote by 1, keeping the Conservative votes at three and reducing the Liberal vote from 6 to 5. As the committee travelled the country hearing from citizens, Trudeau began to show a restive and distant attitude towards reform admitting to his preferred choice of ranked or preferential balloting. During an interview with Le Devoir, he mused that Canadians had no appetite for electoral reform. You could see where this was heading. With the release of the committee’s report December 1, 2016 recommending some form of proportional representation, Monsef mocked and lectured the members derisive of their efforts for failing “to complete the hard work we expected them to”. On Dec. 5, the Liberals announced the creation of an online survey that would accept Canadian input for six weeks. The survey was widely derided because designed to achieve a desired outcome.

Monsef had faltered from the first with the formation of the committee and, with plenty of help from Trudeau, had bungled the portfolio throughout. In January of this year, Karina Gould, another neophyte MP, who replaced Monsef as democratic institutions minister during a cabinet shuffle, would make the official announcement February 1, 2017 that electoral reform was dead as Dickens’s Marley. It had been a test by fire for Monsef who failed and Gould who passed admirably but left some wondering why Trudeau, who had made electoral reform a key element of his platform, had left the dirty task of killing it to a relatively inexperienced and untested member of his caucus. It was the little sister fighting the battle that was her big brother’s. If there were to be a public backlash, she would bear the brunt. There was no backlash for this; Trudeau and the public had other things to fret about and it had everything to do with Trudeau’s Christmas vacation and another rap to his image.

As for electoral reform? It had been shot dead and stomped into the earth. The party that had garnered 54% of the seats with just 39% of the popular vote, the same percentage that gave Harper his majority, had opted for the status quo. Disappointing yes, but no surprise unless you were among those that really, really, really believed Trudeau said what he meant and meant what he said. Poor innocents.

THE PEACOCK RUFFLED

Even as electoral reform played out, not dead yet, but soon to utter its last gasp, Trudeau and his family, with friends Tom Pitfield, of Data Sciences Ltd., and his wife, Anna Gainey, were spending Christmas with long time family friend, the Aga Khan, generously paying for the helicopter ride from the Bahamian mainland to his private island. Now no one, no one begrudges the Trudeaus taking time off for the holiday season. But there are several issues here. Firstly, while rules regarding gifts can and should be tightened, members of parliament, including the prime minister, are not allowed to accept gifts above $200 without publicly declaring them “unless they are routine expressions of hospitality or protocol” (The Canadian Press, June 11, 2015) while those above $1000 must be forfeited to the Crown. By way of explanation, Trudeau had claimed the helicopter ride was the only method possible of accessing the island. Not true. The Privy Council Office technician who usually accompanies the PM for audio and visual technical services had hired a chartered seaplane for $6,695 (National Post in Ottawa Citizen, April 12, 2017). When challenged as to why he accepted the helicopter ride, Trudeau then claimed that the RCMP made decisions regarding the safest way for the PM to travel. Not content with breaking conflict of interest rules and his own mandate regarding openness, transparency and conflict of interest, Trudeau fudged, again. Know a person who lies on the small things, don’t trust him with the big. Canadians picked up the tab for security and the Challenger jet on standby and for “per diems” for the tour technician. Including the cost of the chartered plane, the trip cost $133,882 mostly for security, lodging and overtime and the Challenger jet on standby. That’s fine, part of the package necessary when one is prime minister. Still, one wonders why, apart from the questionable helicopter ride, there were reimbursements of funds to the Aga Khan as reported by CBC news for the cost of meals for “at least one government employee” (Elizabeth Thompson, CBC News, April 4, 2017) to the tune of $1602 USD for the 12 days especially if the technician was doing government business. Was the government trying to hide something? Accepting gifts, even in the way of food and accommodation from a personal friend and head of a foundation that has, since 2004, received government grants of $310 million with another $55 million pledged by Trudeau for the next five years, and failing to report them, is a clear conflict and is presently under investigation by the Ethics Commissioner, Mary Dawson.

It was this that likely precipitated Trudeau’s cross country tour, called by some the cowbell tour, doubtless to draw attention away from this serious ethical lapse along with numerous other distractions including Trudeau’s cash-for-access grabs. There was probably no need for these photo-op affairs and that’s what they were, Trudeau talking to Canadians, doing well with some tough questions thrown his way but none raising the holiday debacle and one or two expressing concern over his killing of electoral reform. On that Trudeau, clearly unrepentant, even close to boastful, responded: “It is because I felt it was not in the best interests of our country and our future that I turned my back on that promise.” He then went on to say, “If we were to make a change or risk a change that would augment individual voices, that would augment extremist voices and activist voices…I think we’d be entering an era of instability and uncertainty” (Kristy Kirkup, the Canadian Press, Feb. 10, 2017). The suggestion of course was that proportional representation would lead to extremism and extremist, unstable governments. It was ridiculous and unworthy of someone in that position and that intelligent. It’s a lie, it’s untrue, it’s a gross misrepresentation of proportional representation. Trudeau did not get his way regarding preferential voting so he presents a storyline that is incredibly vile as well as stupid. Most nations in the Western world have a form of PR and most have proven stable and effective. That moronic utterance was just another sign that Trudeau is a schemer, untruthful, and a phony. If Kellie Leitch is the hysteric on the Conservative side with her outrageous racial and religious intolerance, what can one say of these comments by Trudeau? The words were not just nonsense they were revelatory.

The java tour accomplished little for the public really engaged in such issues as electoral reform, in honesty in government and in our politicians but it did allow Trudeau to lard on, and I mean lard on, that smarmy charm and oozing, simply oozing sincerity.

At the time, little attention was paid to the friends who accompanied Trudeau on that Christmas jaunt. And Trudeau wasn’t talking. Tom Pitfield’s company has been awarded contract work for the Liberal party offering digital and support services to enhance its voter contact database capabilities. Trudeau and the Liberal party refuse to discuss how much is being paid for the services. This is important because, the other member in that party of happy holidayers, Pitfield’s wife, Anna Gainey, is president of the Liberal party. Further, two members of Pitfield’s company, one a sister to Trudeau’s press secretary, also sit on the Liberal party’s board of directors. Pitfield’s wife will recuse herself from any party decisions made regarding Data Sciences Ltd. Yeah, right. For the president of the party, that might be difficult.

Does anyone smell cronyism yet? Does anyone recall Adscam or sponsorgate?

Can Trudeau or his cabinet be trusted? Depends who’s trusting it seems.

THE PEACOCK’S CONFLICT

This man came into office promising real change, more openness, transparency, and honesty. Neither he nor many of his MPs have delivered.

Early on we saw minister of health Jane Philpott reimbursing taxpayers for expense claims, minister of environment and climate change claim thousands for a photographer to follow her in Paris during a climate change summit and we had then minister of international trade Chrystia Freeland, cancel a government plane flight home at the conclusion of a business trip to the Philippines to attend a TV talk show with Bill Maher at a cost between $17K and $20K for Canadian taxpayers according to the Conservatives but which her office pegs at close to $14K. The Global Affairs website lists several meetings that day with the L. A. Chamber of Commerce and California’s Office of Business and Economic development which likely explains why she did not feel the need to reimburse the public. What do you think?

In April 2016, MP Kamal Khera, parliamentary secretary to the minister of health, accepted a free trip to Tanzania by lobbyist World Vision that, since 2015, has received $50 million from Canadian taxpayers.

Another Liberal MP, Arif Virani, took a free trip to England paid for by the Pierre Eliot Trudeau Foundation. Not troubled yet?

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould attended a fundraiser sponsored by lawyers. Conflict of interest? You bet. But neither she nor Trudeau see it that way. She claimed that she attended as MP not as justice minister! Go figure. She and Trudeau must have laughed at all us dummies who swallowed that. What a bunch of simps.

No doubt she laughs at this, as well. Her husband registered as a lobbyist immediately after the election victory. He was partner with her in a business, which she left to campaign as a Liberal candidate. He continues on as consultant for two clients, one of which is a wealthy First Nations band in Kelowna and the other the not-for profit First Nations Finance Authority that offers financial and advisory assistance to First Nations members. Her husband, as a lobbyist, could conceivably do business with the justice department on behalf of his clients, which places his wife in a real conflict of interest position. It is not enough she recuses herself. Her husband must quit as lobbyist or the minister resign. Again no movement by the justice minister who continues to hold the confidence of Trudeau and still hasn’t a clue about conflict of interest.

But if the justice minister appeared naïve at best or disingenuous at worse, what can one say of finance minister Bill Morneau’s secretive meeting at a private home with developers in Halifax one of whom had been appointed to the board of the Halifax Port Authority by the Liberals? Again conflict of interest rears its ugly head.

And of course, we mustn’t forget Justin Trudeau’s many, many forays into the fundraising field many at private homes and unadvertised. In one event at a private home attended by about 30 Chinese millionaires and billionaires, there were two who donated $50K towards a stature of Justin’s father, $200K towards the Pierre Eliot Trudeau Foundation and $750K for the University of Montreal law faculty scholarships. About a month later, one of the attendees won government approval from regulators to operate Wealth One Bank of Canada. Coincidence?

With Trudeau, ethics, transparency, and truth are rather a loosey-goosey mishmash. When questioned about these meetings, Trudeau and his gang made clear they could not be influenced, that no business was ever discussed, that whenever any attendee attempted to raise business they were directed to go through the proper government channels. Trudeau and his staff would also claim that Trudeau often just happened to drop by at these events and often did not know who were in attendance. Really? When he has security glued to him 24/7? Later, Trudeau would admit that business was discussed at some of these meetings.

Can Trudeau really be trusted?

Why, even when given the opportunity more than once by reporters to actually demonstrate his oft self-proclaimed feminism, he stood mum, mute, unable to bring himself to condemn Trump’s vicious misogyny, And when Trudeau was presented with the opportunity to demonstrate that his campaign pledge of making Human Rights a priority was more than mere words after Trump laid out his travel ban on Muslims, he again fell short demonstrating that there was no there there.

Motion 6 gave us the first real taste of Trudeau as a plotter and sneak just as capable of slimy politics as the worst of politicos. The cash-for-access manoeuvring, the cronyism, the treatment of the ballyhooed electoral reform and sundry other displays have cemented my opinion of him as surface only. There is little to respect because, of the things he has accomplished that are good, sometimes even very good, there have been a diminishment because they seem more illusory than substantive, meant more to enhance his image and stature than as concrete, meaningful acts to fully commit to the openness, transparency, and integrity he had promised. His lack of candour bespeaks deceit, calculation, and contempt.

Last month, with Bardish Chagger leading the charge for Trudeau and gang, the Liberals resumed their efforts begun with Motion 6. They have released a discussion paper that Liberal Scott Sims proposed be adopted by June 2, 2017 outlining their desire to make wide-ranging change to the rules of Parliament quickly and with real possibility of going against custom by doing so unilaterally. That opposition response was immediate and hostile should surprise no one except for the breathtaking hypocrisy of the Conservatives who, should any need reminding, sought to disenfranchise voters and remove the ability of Elections Canada Commissioner to investigate election fraud with the so-called Fair Elections Act.

The Liberals wish to reduce the number of sitting days to four, leaving Fridays open for members for “Constituency” days. Yeah, right. As it is, most members leave for their ridings on Thursday evenings taking turns to sit on Fridays. They also want to allow one day a week, based on the British model, where only the PM responds to questions during Question Period. He will not be expected to show in the House other days. Too, as with Motion 6, the move is clearly designed to limit debate. Both the NDP and Conservatives believe that changes as extensive as these must require all party agreement. The Conservatives, now official opposition, believe this with absolute sincerity…today. Next time they form a majority they’ll be doing what they have in the past and what the Liberals are doing today. It’s a dirty power grab played in a dirty game.

Those who voted for Harper mostly knew what to expect and what they were getting. Harper was ruthless, petty and vindictive. His was a narrow vision: tax cuts, tiny, shiny baubles in the way of promises, Alberta oil and Keystone, fear and security, the free market, aligning with business to suppress wages, more prisons, more jail time, and treating welfare recipients as fraudsters and bums.

In many ways, Trudeau’s betrayal is more significant than anything pulled by the Harper gang because Trudeau played on the hopes, decency, innocence, and generosity of those he relied upon for votes by making grand, grand promises that at times seemed too good to be true. Well, they were. He offered a vision that was grander than the Liberal party, which promised more than they intended to give, and that was largely stolen from the NDP playbook. He offered the Big Rock Candy Mountain and, in doing so, confirmed our image of ourselves as good people, generous people, welcoming people.

Oh, yes, he delivered some. But he lied with more. Sunny days, sunny ways was all a crock. There is nothing beneath the surface of that oozing, simply oozing sincerity.

Trudeau is not a bad man; he is just not a good enough man. He is like many of us, easily corrupted when offered too much and wanting and expecting more. Apparently, for such as he loved by all and with a majority government, love is not enough; what good is power if not wielded for benefit? For others, it is bitterness that corrupts, the belief we are unrecognized, have been denied, and that the world is unfair. Both camps should give it a rest.

What is so difficult about keeping one’s word and doing one’s best, about owning up to mistakes or admitting failure? What is so important about you that you would throw away your honour, tarnish your name, betray those who place trust in you, you, for the sake of power and glory?

And you, what do you see in that peacock? What is there about him that has numbed your brain and disabled your senses? What is there about you that paralyses you, forces you to sit back, to do nothing, to accept no responsibility?

In the end, we are all dust. In the meantime, we are all accountable and complicit.

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But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

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They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin

 

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